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S. Korea congratulates Japanese PM-elect Kishida, pledges active cooperation

All News 16:12 October 04, 2021

SEOUL, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Monday congratulated Japanese Prime Minister-elect Fumio Kishida on his election and pledged active cooperation with his Cabinet to address pending issues between the two countries, South Korea's foreign ministry said.

Kishida, a former foreign minister, was elected prime minister in a parliamentary vote earlier in the day to succeed Yoshihide Suga, as Seoul seeks to improve relations with Tokyo strained amid protracted rows over wartime history and trade.

"Our government will actively cooperate with new Prime Minister Kishida and the new Cabinet to explore ways to address pending issues between the two countries and continue efforts to strengthen practical cooperation in the economy, culture, people-to-people exchanges and other areas," Foreign Ministry spokesman Choi Young-sam said.

Relations between Seoul and Tokyo have remained strained due to the long-festering issues of Japan's wartime forced labor and sexual slavery, and Japan's restrictions on exports of key industrial materials to South Korea.

In recent months, Seoul has been pushing to improve bilateral relations at a time when the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has been pushing to reinforce a regional network of democratic alliances and partnerships to counter China's growing assertiveness.

Japan's Prime Minister-elect Fumio Kishida arrives at his official residence in Tokyo on Oct. 4, 2021, in this photo released by the Associated Press. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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