Go to Contents Go to Navigation

(LEAD) Yoon to visit Japan next week for summit with Kishida

All News 16:49 March 09, 2023

(ATTN: UPDATES with details, background)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk Yeol will visit Tokyo next week for a summit with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, his office said Thursday, the first bilateral presidential trip to Japan in 12 years made possible after Seoul announced a solution to a dispute over wartime forced labor.

The March 16-17 trip will be the first such visit since former President Lee Myung-bak traveled to the neighboring country in 2011. Former President Moon Jae-in visited Osaka in 2019, but that trip was for a summit of the Group of 20 nations, not a bilateral visit.

In this file photo, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pose for a photo prior to their talks in New York on Sept. 21, 2022, as they meet on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. (Yonhap)

In this file photo, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pose for a photo prior to their talks in New York on Sept. 21, 2022, as they meet on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. (Yonhap)

"The visit will become an important milestone for the improvement and development of South Korea-Japan relations," the presidential office said in a statement.

"Through President Yoon's visit to Japan, we hope cooperation across various areas, including security, economy, society and culture, will be expanded in order for South Korea and Japan to overcome the unfortunate history of the past and move toward the future, and that exchanges between the two countries' peoples will be further vitalized," it added.

Other details of Yoon's itinerary in Japan are still under discussion, it said.

The trip will come less than two weeks after Seoul announced its decision to compensate Korean forced labor victims through a public foundation supported by donations from South Korean businesses, not the Japanese firms accused of mobilizing the workers during World War II.

Relations between the two countries frayed badly after South Korea's Supreme Court ordered the two Japanese firms in 2018 -- Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries -- to compensate the victims despite Tokyo's insistence that all reparations were settled under a 1965 treaty that normalized bilateral ties.

South Korea was under Japan's colonial rule from 1910-45.

South Korea's decision to compensate the victims without Japanese involvement was seen as a show of Yoon's strong commitment to improving relations with Japan in the face of various security and economic challenges, including the threat of North Korea's nuclear program.

First lady Kim Keon Hee will accompany Yoon on the trip and hold friendly events with Kishida's wife, Yuko, the presidential office said.

hague@yna.co.kr
(END)

HOME TOP
Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!