Leaders of South Korea, Japan vow to resolve ‘pending issues’

Seoul, Sep 22 (EFE).- South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, agreeing to improve ties by resolving “pending issues” and sharing concern for North Korea’s weapons developments.

“The two leaders agreed on the need to improve bilateral relations by resolving pending issues, and agreed to instruct their diplomats to accelerate talks between them to that end while also continuing discussions between themselves,” said South Korea’s deputy presidential spokesperson Lee Jae-myoung in a statement.

“The two leaders shared serious concern about North Korea’s nuclear program, including its recent legalization of nuclear arms and the possibility of a seventh nuclear test, and agreed to cooperate closely with the international community to respond to it,” he added.

In this sense, the two parties also stressed the importance of promoting bilateral and trilateral cooperation, involving the United States, as “Japan and South Korea are important neighbors for each other under the current strategic environment,” according to Japan’s foreign ministry in a statement.

The summit between the two leaders, the first bilateral meeting of this type held since they each came to power, comes after the countries’ foreign ministers Park Jin and Yoshimasa Hayashi also met in New York and agreed to reach a prompt resolution of the issue of compensation to South Korean civilians for acts committed by Japan during its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula between 1910 and 1945.

The conservative Yoon, who came to power in May, has vowed to improve the relationship after it reached its worst point in decades under his predecessor, the liberal Moon Jae-in.

Seoul must explore how to deal with rulings issued by its courts ordering the expropriation of assets of two Japanese companies on South Korean soil that had been sued for enslaving people during the colonial period.

The companies have not complied with the rulings, since Tokyo considers that all claims related to the colonial period were resolved through a bilateral treaty signed in 1965 that specifies that economic compensation is resolved “completely and finally” under of the agreement. EFE


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