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S. Korea, Japan to hold FM talks, trilateral meeting with U.S. in Munich

All News 11:00 February 14, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- The top diplomats of South Korea and Japan will hold bilateral talks and a tripartite meeting with their U.S. counterpart on the margins of a security conference in Munich, Germany, this week, Seoul's foreign ministry said Friday.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is set to meet bilaterally with her Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, on Saturday morning (Munich time) on the sidelines of the annual three-day Munich Security Conference, which will run through Sunday.

On the same day, they also plan to meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as they step up their cooperation over a range of issues such as tensions in the Middle East and efforts to denuclearize North Korea.

Kang, Pompeo and Motegi last held a trilateral meeting in San Francisco last month.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (L) and her U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Mike Pompeo (C) and Toshimitsu Motegi, pose for a photo before their talks in San Francisco on Jan. 14, 2020, in this photo provided by the foreign ministry. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Kang and Pompeo are also expected to have bilateral talks in Munich, but their meeting schedule has yet to be finalized.

During the talks with Motegi, Kang is expected to renew Seoul's calls to retract Tokyo's export restrictions seen as political retaliation for 2018 Supreme Court rulings that ordered Japanese firms to compensate victims of wartime forced labor.

Seoul has recently stressed the "temporary" nature of its November decision to put off the expiry of a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan in an apparent move to pressure Japan to retract its export curbs amid little progress in related government talks.

In response to Tokyo's export curbs, Seoul announced in August that it would withdraw from the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). But it reversed the pullout decision, albeit temporarily, in the face of opposition from Washington, the two countries' shared ally.

Kang and Motegi could also discuss the issue of 14 South Koreans currently aboard a Japanese cruise ship in Yokohama, which has been put under quarantine since earlier this month after the COVID-19 virus was detected in a person who disembarked from the ship in Hong Kong last month.

All South Korean passengers aboard the ship have not displayed any symptoms of the deadly virus yet, Seoul officials said.

If Kang and Pompeo hold one-on-one talks, the two sides could discuss ongoing negotiations over the sharing of the cost for stationing 28,500 American troops in South Korea as well as joint efforts to bring North Korea back to dialogue.

The two could also discuss Seoul's push for individual trips to North Korea and other inter-Korean cooperation projects as part of efforts to enhance cross-border relations and help resume stalled nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang.


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