Intellasia East Asia News – Foreign Ministers of Korea and Japan pledge ‘sincere efforts’ to resolve historic differences

The foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan agreed to work together to resolve historic differences during a bilateral meeting in New York, the Seoul foreign ministry said Tuesday.

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi held talks on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday.

During their meeting of about fifty minutes, the two ministers agreed to continue to strengthen bilateral cooperation, but also trilateral with the United States, given the rapid evolution of the geopolitical environment.

While historic disputes including the issue of forced labor in Japan have strained ties between Seoul and Tokyo for several years in the past, the two ministers also vowed to make sincere efforts to reach a resolution.

“We had a good conversation. We agreed to make sincere efforts on each side to improve Korea-Japan relations,” Park told reporters in New York after meeting Hayashi.

Their meeting took place in a “friendly” atmosphere, according to a Korean ministry official who requested anonymity.

“Today’s meeting came a month after the two ministers met on the sidelines of the Cambodia meeting in August, under the consensus that they should communicate closely to improve bilateral relations between Korea and the country. Japan,” the ministry official said. The two last met at the 55th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in August.

The two ministers also discussed the issue of forced labor, which remains the sticking point of discussions on repairing links.

In 2018, the Seoul Supreme Court ruled in a case in which Korean victims sought the liquidation of the assets of two Japanese companies in order to compensate them.

The companies, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nippon Steel, were ordered to provide compensation for forcing Koreans to work during the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945.

But they refused to take responsibility, reaffirming his government’s position that all claims related to its annexation of Korea were settled once and for all by an agreement signed in 1965.

As the Seoul Supreme Court has yet to issue its final decision on the asset liquidation, the Yoon Suk-yeol administration has struggled to find a way to resolve the issue without liquidating the assets, as this would likely lead to a collapse of bilateral relations with Japan. its worst level.

Park reportedly talked about alternatives to dealing with the court’s decision, including having a third party take responsibility for the Japanese company. A third party, such as a civic foundation, can create a new debt contract with creditors, or Korean victims in this case. Donations can be collected from businesses and individuals in both countries, which would be used for a victim compensation fund.

In addition to financial compensation, the victims’ group demanded a sincere apology from the companies. The Korean government has the daunting task of negotiating with the Japanese government to elicit a response that would satisfy the claims of the victims.

Monday’s talks are the fourth the two ministers have had since Park took office in May. They first held an in-person meeting in July, on the sidelines of the G-20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Bali, Indonesia. Park traveled to Tokyo later that same month to hold the second bilateral talks with Hayashi, then the third in Cambodia.

Category: Japan, Korea

Print this article

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.