South Korea's new foreign minister and Japan's prime minister agreed on last Dec. 27 2006 that the two countries must cooperate closely to resolve the lingering issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons, Japan's Foreign Ministry said.
Song Min-soon, who arrived in Japan on Dec. 26, also met separately with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso and exchanged documents ratifying a treaty on legal assistance, the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier on Dec. 27, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Song during an exchange of greetings before reporters that he was "delighted'' Song had chosen Japan for his first overseas trip since becoming Seoul's top diplomat in early December.
"I hope both countries will work together so that these meetings will be accepted naturally,'' Song said in response.
Song's trip comes after six-nation talks on resolving North Korea's nuclear ambitions failed recently in Beijing.
Abe and Song agreed their countries should work closely and with the United States to resolve the Korean nuclear problem, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Song and Aso agreed to a mutual assistance pact to improve cooperation between both countries in cross-border criminal investigations, the ministry said. The treaty will go into effect Jan. 26, it said.
During Song's trip to Japan, the two sides are also expected to discuss steps to mend strained ties, including a possible visit to Japan by South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun — his first since June 2003, according to South Korea's Foreign Ministry.
Bilateral ties have been hurt by territorial and historical disputes, including a row over former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to a war shrine that honors Japan's war dead, including convicted war criminals. (AP)
1. resolve v.i. /v.t.
解決 (jie3 jue2)
例: You should try to resolve any disagreements without fighting.
2. lingering v.i. /v.t.
拖延的 (tuo1 yan2 de5)
例: I have a lingering suspicion John will steal this book.
3. ratify v.t.
認可 (ren4 ke3)
例: The Legislative Yuan must ratify all treaties Taiwan signs.
4. diplomat n.
外交官 (wai4 jiao1 guan1)
例: Diplomats are immune to prosecution in foreign countries.
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