South Korea and Japan resume diplomatic contacts

South Korea’s Foreign Minister Li Xiangde met with Ichihara Ichi, Director of the Asia Pacific Department of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the capital Seoul. This is the first director-level meeting between the two countries since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine at the end of last year.

The day before, on the way to improve relations between the two countries, South Korean Ambassador to Japan Li Bingqi held a working meeting with the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Minister Jai Mu Zhaolong. Earlier, US Secretary of State John · Kerry stated that he hopes that South Korea-Japan relations will be improved before US President Barack & Middot; Obama visited the two countries.

The Korean side tried to downplay

The Korean Foreign Ministry did not disclose the contents of the meeting between Li Xiangde and Yiyuan, including the agenda, but said that this is between the two countries’ diplomatic departments. “Routine communication”.

According to the Korea Yonhap News Agency, many media speculated that the meeting when the tension between South Korea and Japan meant that the two countries began to try to improve relations, and that Li Bingqi and the equivalent of Japan’s executive deputy foreign minister Wood had just had a working meeting the day before.

The Korean Foreign Ministry is trying to play down the significance of this meeting. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Taiyong said that he did not know whether there was a “any contact” between the director-level meeting and the improvement of the Korea-Japan relationship.

Zhao Taiyong said that the meeting was only Yiyuan’s “courtesy visit”; Ihara came to Seoul this time to attend a meeting of the Japanese diplomatic mission in South Korea.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry also said that as the head of the Japanese delegation to the Six-Party Talks on the Korean Peninsula Nuclear Issue, Ihara met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 18th and the South Korean head of the Six-Party Talks, Zhao Taiyong, to discuss The DPRK nuclear issue.

U.S. Behind the Scenes

Before the resumption of diplomatic contacts between the ROK and the ROK, US Secretary of State Kerry met with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Wonda on the 7th. Before Obama visited Japan and South Korea in April this year, he tried to improve Japan-ROK relations. When he visited South Korea on the 13th, Kerry told South Korean Foreign Minister Yin Bingshi that he hoped that South Korea would overcome the historical problems with Japan and improve bilateral relations.

Kerry said that tensions between South Korea and Japan may damage the military cooperation between the United States, Japan and South Korea. He intends to push the two countries to ease tensions before Obama visits Korea and Japan.

On the 18th, Kishida said at a news conference that he hopes to hold talks with Yin Bingshi as soon as possible to promote mutual understanding. “Korea is an important neighbor of Japan, considering the situation involving North Korea, Japan, the United States and South Korea. The cooperation between the three countries is very important.

However, the Korean Foreign Ministry did not respond to Kanda’s appeal. Zhao Taiyong said that the ROK has not yet received a formal proposal from the Japanese side, and the Korean side will only respond if it issues a formal request through diplomatic channels.

Kishida said that the meeting of the foreign ministers at the Korean-Japanese diplomatic conference held on the same day will not discuss the agenda of the foreign ministers’ talks. He said “I have never heard of any discussion on this issue”.

The second official of the Korean Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lie-lie, told the National Assembly on the 18th that the ROK did not discuss any high-level talks with the Japanese side. “Our position is that unless the Japanese show sincerity, there will be no Any conversation”.

Japan refuses to give in

The problem of Dokdo (called Zhudao in Japan) may pose a barrier to the improvement of relations between South Korea and Japan. Shimane Prefecture, Japan is scheduled to commemorate on the 22nd, “Bamboo Island Day”, the Japanese government, despite the opposition of the South Korean side, insisted on sending officials from the central government to attend the event.

Japan’s Territorial Issues Minister Yamamoto said on the 18th that “this is not something that other governments can decide”, the Japanese government will send the Cabinet Office’s government official Kameoka Kemin as scheduled. Island Day & rdquo; Memorial Event.

The Korean Foreign Ministry last week called on the Japanese side to abandon plans to send Kameoka to attend. In response to Yamamoto’s remarks, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Taiyong responded that this was really unreasonable and surprised the South Korean side.

“The so-called commemoration day for other countries’ territories, even the participation of central government officials, is an unforgivable act. Zhao Taiyong said that the Japanese side accused South Korea of ​​interfering. Reason and common sense.

In the past two years, South Korea-Japan relations have fallen into the troughs of decades due to territorial disputes and Japan’s refusal to plead guilty to victims of “comfort women”. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe suddenly visited the Yasukuni Shrine, which was dedicated to Class-A war criminals of World War II, at the end of last year, causing further deterioration of relations between the two countries. Abe has repeatedly stated that he should not set a premise for the summit meeting. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has refused and believes that as long as the Japanese side continues to advocate the wrong view of history, there is no need to talk with Abe.

Last weekend, senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported that the Japanese government proposed that Abe and Park Geun-hye hold talks during the third nuclear security summit in The Hague, the Netherlands, in March this year. South Korea’s Qingwatai denied the relevant reports on the 16th and reiterated that it did not communicate with the Japanese side.

Responsible Editor: Liu Yang

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