(ATTN: UPDATES with more details, quotes from meeting; CHANGES photos)
By Kim Seung-yeon
SEOUL, June 9 (Yonhap) -- Business chambers of South Korea and Japan agreed Friday to work together to realize Seoul's bid to host the 2030 World Expo and a successful opening of the same event in Osaka in 2025.
The agreement was reached between the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) in a joint statement adopted during their chairs' meeting in Busan, South Korea's southeastern port city bidding for the expo, the KCCI said.
"The Busan Expo (bid) can be described as part of an effort to address global challenges, and we would like to connect it with the upcoming Expo 2025 in Osaka, Japan, as one solution platform," KCCI Chair Chey Tae-won said in the opening remarks.
Friday's meeting marked the first such gathering between the two business chambers in six years. It had been suspended since 2018 amid deteriorating bilateral relations over a dispute stemming from Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
Bilateral ties have warmed dramatically after South Korea proposed in March compensating the Korean victims of Japan's wartime forced labor without contributions from accused Japanese companies.
JCCI Chairperson Ken Kobayashi called the economic relationship between Seoul and Tokyo "inseparable," saying he feels glad relations are on the right track for improvement.
"I do hope that the 2025 Osaka Kansai Expo and the 2030 Busan Expo bid will offer us a chance to revive various exchanges, from the regional exchanges between sister cities, tourism to culture and education, and that mutual understanding will be deepened," Kobayashi said.
In the joint statement, the two chambers agreed that the KCCI will actively participate in the Osaka-Kansai Expo in 2025, and the JCCI will actively cooperate to attract the Busan World Expo in 2030.
South Korea is competing with Italy, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia to host the World Expo in 2030, with the winner to be announced in November.
The KCCI and JCCI agreed to promote cooperation in economic security, including rebuilding the supply chains, achieving carbon neutrality, and cooperating on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, among others.
They agreed to bolster private exchanges in tourism, culture and education in line with the post-COVID-19 recovery and border reopening.
Seoul's decision on the compensation led to the first summit between the two countries' leaders in more than a decade and a mutual promise to resume exchanges in diplomacy, business and other areas.
Seizing on the diplomatic shift, business circles are stepping up to reinvigorate various exchanges and partnerships at the industry level.
Some 30 representatives of the two chambers attended Friday's meeting, including the heads of the regional business chambers of the two countries.
The KCCI and JCCI agreed to host the next chairs' meeting in Osaka in 2024.
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