South Korea and Japan started talks yesterday focusing on North Korea's nuclear weapons programs and a row over wartime sex slavery, South Korean officials said.
Foreign Minister Song Min-soon and his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso met on the South Korean holiday island of Jeju in a follow-up to Song's visit to Tokyo last December.
Aso is expected to reaffirm his cooperation with Song to follow up on North Korea's commitment to dismantling its nuclear programs, Japanese officials said, according to Japan's Kyodo news agency.
North Korea agreed in principle last month to disable its nuclear programs under a deal which also foresees normalization of relations with Japan and the US.
But progress on implementing the Feb. 13 accord has been stalled over North Korea's frozen bank accounts.
A meeting this month on normalizing Japan-North Korea relations broke down when Tokyo insisted on getting answers about the fate of kidnapped citizens.
North Korea has acknowledged kidnapping 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s to train its spies. It returned five victims and their families and says the rest are dead.
Japan says the other abductees are alive and that more Japanese were snatched than Pyongyang has admitted.
It says until there are "positive developments" on abductions, it will not help fund aid promised under the February agreement reached during six-nation talks aimed at North Korea's nuclear disarmament.
Seoul in the past has criticized Tokyo's insistence on raising abductions during six-party talks which involve Russia, the US and China, japan and the two Koreas.
Yesterday's talks also follow a recent uproar in South Korea over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's remarks that there was no evidence to prove the Japanese government forced Asian women into sexual slavery in World War II.
Seoul has expressed "deep regrets" over Abe's remarks made earlier this month.
"Minister Song is expected to raise the issue during his meeting with Aso," a South Korean foreign ministry official was quoted as saying on condition of anonymity by Yonhap news agency.
A dispute over a chain of islets called Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan is also expected to be raised. The two sides want to agree rules for marine surveys around the islands to avoid future clashes.
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable