Unification minister meets top Japanese officials in Tokyo
SEOUL/TOKYO, March 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's unification minister met with Japan's foreign minister and its chief cabinet secretary on Thursday to discuss North Korea's threats and other pending issues, according to his office.
Kwon Young-se had talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno in Tokyo on the second day of his four-day trip to Japan, the unification ministry said.
What was discussed included security situations on the Korean Peninsula, Seoul-Tokyo cooperation on the North's threats and the issue of those abducted by the North decades ago.
"Both governments need to make further efforts to make the bilateral ties healthy," Kwon said at the start of his meeting with Hayashi.
He then had a separate meeting with Matsuno and exchanged views on the abductee issue.
At least 516 South Koreans are estimated to have been detained in North Korea after being abducted by the North following the 1950-53 Korean War, according to the ministry. The North in 2002 admitted having kidnapped 13 Japanese citizens decades ago and returned five to Japan.
On Friday, Kwon will meet with Toshimitsu Motegi, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and Fukushiro Nukaga, chairman of the Japan-Korea Parliamentarians' Union.
Kwon's trip came amid South Korea's efforts to mend long-frayed ties with Japan and bolster trilateral cooperation with Washington and Tokyo to better cope with the North's nuclear and missile threats.
It marked the first trip to Japan by a South Korean unification minister in 18 years.
President Yoon Suk Yeol held summit talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida last week and discussed ways to boost cooperation on wide-ranging issues.
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