Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday expressed his eagerness to usher in a “new era” of bilateral relations with South Korea, with ties having improved rapidly after Seoul pledged to resolve a long-standing wartime labor dispute with Tokyo.
In a message Kishida sent to a gathering in Tokyo which involved political and business figures from both countries, he said, “Japan and South Korea are important neighbors for working together on various challenges in the international community.”
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa also said in a speech at the meeting that close cooperation between Japan and South Korea has never been more necessary in the face of the severe security situation in East Asia.
In a message addressed to the convention, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol echoed similar views, voicing his readiness to join hands with Japan on numerous regional and global issues, including security, economy and state-of-the-art technologies.
Under the administration of Yoon’s predecessor Moon Jae In, who was considered by some to have been an anti-Japan politician, relations between Tokyo and Seoul had deteriorated to the lowest point in decades due largely to the wartime labor compensation row.
But Yoon, who took office in May 2022, proposed a solution to the matter in early March and made the first trip by a South Korean president to Japan in four years for talks with Kishida later in the month, signaling a thaw in bilateral ties.
Japan and South Korea have agreed to resume reciprocal visits by the leaders of the two nations, which had been suspended since 2011.
In May, Yoon was invited as a guest to a Group of Seven summit in Kishida’s home constituency of Hiroshima to discuss the security environment in Asia amid North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and China’s growing military assertiveness.
Source : Kyodo News