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Top diplomats of S. Korea, Japan to hold talks in China

Diplomacy 18:30 December 23, 2019

SEOUL, Dec. 23 (Yonhap) -- The top diplomats of South Korea and Japan will hold one-on-one talks Tuesday ahead of a bilateral summit in China between President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Seoul's foreign ministry said.

Moon and Abe traveled to China's southwestern city of Chengdu on Monday for an annual trilateral summit between the three countries. South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi accompanied their leaders.

Kang and Motegi plan to hold talks on Tuesday before Moon and Abe hold a one-on-one summit in the afternoon, her ministry said in a release. These meetings will follow a trilateral summit with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in the morning.

Relations between South Korea and Japan have deteriorated since Tokyo tightened export controls on Seoul in apparent retaliation for the South Korean top court's rulings that ordered Japanese firms to compensate Korean forced labor victims.

Seoul declared in August it would end a bilateral military intelligence-sharing pact with Tokyo but suspended the termination at the last minute as the two sides agreed to resume trade talks to discuss the export curbs.

On Friday, Tokyo announced an easing of restrictions on exports of photoresist, one of the three key industrial products subject to tighter control, in what appears to be a conciliatory gesture ahead of the bilateral summit in Chengdu.

Seoul said that while it represents partial progress, it is not a fundamental solution to the trade dispute.

Kang and Motegi last held talks in Madrid, Spain, on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) early last week.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (L) shakes hands with her Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, in Nagoya, Japan, on the sidelines of a Group of 20 foreign ministers meeting on Nov. 23, 2019. (Yonhap)


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