May 18, 2017
Tokyo- A special envoy of South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday handed to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a letter from the president that showed his hope that the two leaders will visit each other frequently to promote top-level dialogue.
Abe and the envoy, South Korean National Assembly member Moon Hee-sang, agreed that their countries will develop future-oriented relations and will make adjustments to set up a bilateral summit at an early date.
They also confirmed the two countries' close cooperation in responding to North Korea's nuclear and missile development.
"Japan and South Korea are the most important neighbors that share strategic interests," Abe said to the envoy. "We want to build future-oriented bilateral relations."
The envoy told Abe that developing future-oriented ties with Japan is the president's wish.
He said the president wants to meet with Abe soon and that frequent summit meetings can help deepen the two countries' mutual understanding.
In addition, the envoy said Japan and South Korea should work together in tackling North Korea's nuclear development.
Abe voiced hope to "appropriately manage" Japan-South Korea relations, including the 2015 bilateral agreement on the issue of Korean comfort women, who were forced to serve as prostitutes for Japanese troops before and during World War II.
By saying this, Abe apparently tried to urge South Korea to steadily implement the comfort women agreement.
Meanwhile, the envoy repeated the president's explanation, given during last week's phone talks with Abe, that most South Korean people cannot accept the agreement at an emotional level.
Speaking in a press conference, however, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he believes Abe and the South Korean envoy confirmed that the two countries will implement the agreement in a responsible manner.
The Japanese and South Korean governments are working on setting up a meeting between Abe and Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit scheduled to be held in Germany in July.
Japan is also hoping to arrange a summit meeting with China and South Korea at an early date. The three-way summit was planned to be held by the end of last year, but has been postponed. (TOKYO, Jiji)
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