South Korea, Japan vow to open new era of cooperation to overcome crises

2023. 3. 17. 10:24
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President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands at expanded summit talks at the latter‘s residence in Tokyo on Thursday. [Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]
South Korea and Japan agreed to resume the so-called shuttle diplomacy between the leaders of the two countries for the first time in 12 years and for Japan lift its export ban on key chip materials to its closest neighbor as they take steps to normalize bilateral relations.

President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held a bilateral summit in Tokyo on Thursday. Yoon’s visit to Japan is the first by a South Korean leader in four years and it’s the first time in 12 years that the heads of the two countries have engaged in the shuttle diplomacy since former President Lee Myung-bak made a trip to Japan in 2011

In response to the lifting of the export ban, South Korea will withdraw its complaint to the World Trade Organization after Japan prohibited shipment of three major semiconductor materials to Korea. The two countries will also continue talks to reinstate each other to their whitelist of trusted trading partners.

“The current grave security situation, including a global poly-crisis and North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, is calling for stronger solidarity and cooperation among countries that share the universal values of freedom, human rights and the rule of law,” Yoon said at a luncheon meeting with Korean living in Japan.

Yoon also said that Seoul announced compensation for Japan’s wartime forced workers due to the importance of cooperation between the two countries. “Korea and Japan are standing at a starting point to move toward a better future,” he said.

During their summit, Yoon and Kishida discussed pending security issues, including North Korea’s missile provocations, in a small meeting attended by the foreign ministers of the two countries and discussed ways for economic cooperation in an expanded meeting attended by relevant ministers.

“This agreement is not just about lifting export restrictions, but the first step in building trust between the two countries,” South Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Lee Chang-yang said in a briefing in Tokyo.

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