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Foreign ministers of S. Korea, Japan meet over N. Korea, bilateral issues

All News 09:26 February 13, 2022

By Byun Duk-kun

HONOLULU, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong met with his Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi, in Honolulu on Saturday to discuss a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, including North Korea and disputes over their shared history.

The bilateral meeting was held before the foreign ministers were set to hold trilateral talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the Hawaiian capital.

"Minister Chung stressed that South Korea and Japan are the closest neighbors that must work together for peace and prosperity of the Northeast Asian region and the globe and that correct understanding of history is the basis for the future-oriented development of the South Korea-Japan relationship," the South Korean foreign ministry said of the Chung-Hayashi talks.

South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong (L) and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi are seen posing for a photo during their bilateral meeting in Honolulu on Feb. 12, 2022, in this photo provided by the South Korean foreign ministry. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The bilateral meeting marked the first of its kind since Hayashi took office in October. The two ministers talked earlier on the phone after North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Jan. 30 (Seoul time) in violation of U.S. Security Council resolutions that prohibit its development or testing of any ballistic missiles.

Seoul-Tokyo relations have been at their lowest ebb since mid-2019, when Japan began taking economic steps, such as removing South Korea from its list of trusted trade partners, that many believe were aimed at retaliating against Seoul court decisions that ordered Japanese firms to pay compensation to South Korean workers forced into unpaid labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea.

Chung again expressed deep regrets over Japan's recent decision to push to get the Sado mine listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ministry said.

The Sado mine is linked with Japan's wartime forced labor.

"Minister Chung also pointed out that Japan's trade restriction steps must be removed at an early date," the ministry said in a press release.

Chung and Hayashi underscored the importance of their countries' bilateral cooperation in dealing with North Korea.

"The two ministers reaffirmed the need for dialogue with North Korea to restart the Korean Peninsula peace process at an early date, as well as the importance of South Korea-Japan cooperation and South Korea-Japan-U.S. cooperation, and agreed to continue working together in the future," the press release said.


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