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S. Korea, Japan hold working-level talks amid renewed spat over Dokdo

Diplomacy 19:07 November 22, 2021

SEOUL, Nov. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Japan held working-level diplomatic talks in Seoul on Monday amid a renewed spat over the former's easternmost islets of Dokdo.

The talks between Lee Sang-ryol, the foreign ministry's director general for Asian and Pacific affairs, and his Japanese counterpart, Takehiro Funakoshi, came after tensions resurfaced following Japan's protest over the recent visit to Dokdo by South Korea's police chief.

Lee said that Seoul can never accept any Japanese claim to Dokdo, as Funakoshi repeated Tokyo's stance on the East Sea outcroppings, the foreign ministry said.

Friction over Dokdo was on full display last week when Japanese Foreign Minister Takeo Mori boycotted what was supposed to be a trilateral press conference involving his South Korean and U.S. counterparts, Choi Jong-kun and Wendy Sherman, in Washington.

South Korea has been in effective control of the islets with a small police detachment since its liberation from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

At the talks, Lee also stressed the need to accelerate bilateral consultations to address the two countries' protracted rows over Japan's wartime forced labor and sexual slavery, the ministry said.

In addition, Lee reiterated South Korea's position against Japan's plan to discharge into the ocean radioactive water from its crippled Fukushima power plant.

Despite their differences over historical issues, the two sides shared the view on the need for continued communication to address those issues, the ministry said.

On the same day, South Korea's top nuclear envoy, Noh Kyu-duk, met Funakoshi who doubles as Japan's chief nuclear negotiator.

The two sides discussed cooperation to make substantive progress for the efforts to achieve the complete denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, and agreed to continue close communication on North Korea-related issues, the ministry said

This combined photo, taken on April 1, 2021, shows Lee Sang-ryol (L), the South Korean foreign ministry's director general for Asian and Pacific affairs, and his Japanese counterpart, Takehiro Funakoshi, walking inside a hotel in Tokyo after they held talks there. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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