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Talks under way to set up FM meeting between S. Korea, Japan: official

Diplomacy 16:26 December 12, 2019

By Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, Dec. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is in talks with Japan to set up a one-on-one meeting between their top diplomats on the fringes of an upcoming multilateral gathering in Spain early next week, a foreign ministry official said Thursday.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha plans to attend the 14th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) foreign ministerial meeting in Madrid from Dec. 15-16, according to Seoul's foreign ministry.

Drawing attention is whether she will hold one-on-one talks with her Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, on the margins of the gathering amid continuing tensions between Seoul and Tokyo over wartime history and trade.

"No decision has been made about the bilateral meeting. We're in the middle of coordination," a ministry official told reporters.

The two top diplomats last met in Nagoya on the sidelines of a foreign ministerial meeting of the Group of 20 nations on Nov. 23, a day after Seoul temporarily suspended the expiry of a bilateral military information-sharing pact with Tokyo known as the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA).

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is shown in this photo filed on Sept. 30, 2019. (Yonhap)

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is shown in this photo filed on Sept. 30, 2019. (Yonhap)

The meeting will also coincide with planned working-level talks between trade officials of the two countries, set to take place in Tokyo on Monday, that will center on Tokyo's export curbs imposed on Seoul.

In Spain, Kang is expected to hold a series of bilateral talks with her Asian and European counterparts to discuss various topics of mutual concern including multilateralism and ways to strengthen the linkages between the two regions, the ministry said.

"(Kang will) introduce South Korea's active contribution in efforts to cope with climate change through the implementation of the Paris Agreement and Seoul's plan to host the second Partners for Green Growth and the Global Goals (P4G) summit next year," Lee Jae-woong, deputy ministry spokesperson said in a briefing.

She will also take the opportunity to reaffirm the member countries' support for South Korea's efforts in the peace process and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Lee added.


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