Japan and South Korea vowed to “deepen communication” in the future during a rare meeting on Saturday, diplomatic sources said, following a collapse in relations between the neighbors.
Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida held “candid” talks with South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se on the eve of a regional security dialogue in Myanmar’s capital, a Japanese diplomatic source said.
Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy press secretary Koichi Mizushima said that the two nations had discussed “the future direction of the Japan and Korea relationship.”
“They agreed on the importance to continue and deepen communication,” Mizushima told reporters, adding that future talks would be at various levels, including the foreign ministers.
“Although there are some difficult issues between the two countries, the good relationship between Japan and [South] Korea is for the mutual benefit not only for both countries, but also good for the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.
The last official meeting between the two foreign ministers was in September last year in New York.
A summit between the leaders of the two nations in March failed to dampen the rancor between the neighbors, which stems from disputes related to Japan’s 1910 to 1945 rule over the Korean Peninsula. They include a territorial row over a tiny batch of rocky islets and Seoul’s demands for further reparations for Korean women forced to work as sex slaves in Japanese World War II military brothels.
Japan has long maintained that all issues relating to the colonial period were settled under a 1965 bilateral treaty that normalized diplomatic ties with South Korea.
However, in a sign of the depth of the antipathy, on Tuesday the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement branding Japan’s claim to the islands as “ludicrous” and “unacceptable.”
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