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(LEAD) Yoon's delegates meet Japan's top diplomat, note need for strengthened Seoul-Tokyo ties

All News 14:41 April 25, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with Chung's remarks, background info from 4th para; ADDS photo)

TOKYO, April 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol's delegation had a meeting with Japan's top diplomat Monday and the two sides agreed on the need to strengthen cooperation between the neighboring countries, the head of the team said.

The seven-member delegation, led by Rep. Chung Jin-suk of Yoon's conservative People Power Party, arrived in Tokyo the previous day for a five-day stay two weeks ahead of his inauguration.

The delegates met with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and agreed to "reach a conclusion" on pending bilateral issues "through dialogue," Chung told reporters.

Rep. Chung Jin-suk, the head of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol's delegation, speaks to reporters after meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Tokyo on April 25, 2022. (Yonhap)

"As good neighbors that share the value of free democracy and open economy as well as future tasks, (we) agreed to closely maintain and strengthen bilateral relations," he added.

During the meeting, Yoon's team gave a briefing on the new administration's policy direction on Japan, but did not discuss a specific proposal related to such high-profile matters as wartime forced labor and sexual enslavement of Korean women, he added.

"(The two countries) will have to make efforts to reach a conclusion (on the issues) through in-depth dialogue and negotiations via official diplomatic channels," he said, referring to the long-running sources of friction between Seoul and Tokyo.

On the possibility of formally inviting Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to attend Yoon's inauguration ceremony slated for May 10, Chung said South Korean officials are ready to warmly welcome and host him if he decides to do so.

The delegation plans to attend a dinner reception hosted by Hayashi at his official residence later in the day.


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