On the afternoon of February 18, Ichihara, the director of the Asian Foreign Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, arrived at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea. (Source: Korean media)
On December 26, 2013, Abe, regardless of China and South Korea, strongly opposed the sacred visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. (Information picture)
According to Korean media reports, South Korea’s Foreign Minister Li Xiangde met with visiting Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Director of the Asian Foreign Affairs Bureau, Ihara, at the Foreign Ministry Building on the afternoon of February 18. The relations between the two countries have exchanged views in a comprehensive manner. This is the first time that the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has held a ministerial-level meeting with the Korean and Japanese diplomatic authorities after visiting the Yasukuni Shrine in December last year.
It is reported that on the 18th, the two sides discussed the solution to the deterioration of relations between the two countries, that is, focusing on historical issues. The ROK side stated that Japan’s erroneous historical view and provocative actions against history have hindered the improvement of relations between the two countries. In order to improve relations between the two countries, Japan must take concrete measures on historical issues. The South Korean side also asked the Japanese government to cancel the so-called “Bamboo Island Day (Korea called “Dokdo”), and plans to send government officials to participate in the event.
An official of the South Korean government revealed that Li Xiangde and Ihara had met for the first time. They only exchanged basic opinions on the ROK-Japan relationship and did not discuss the specific issues in depth. For the Korea-Japan summit, Li Xiangde only stressed that Japan needs to work hard to create an environment for the summit.
Earlier, some analysts believe that the talks may become the starting point for improving relations between South Korea and Japan, but the position of the South Korean government is that in order to improve relations between the two countries, it is important for the Japanese side to change its attitude on historical issues.
It is worth noting that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a parliamentary reply on the 6th of this month that he will take active measures to repair relations with South Korea. Japanese diplomatic sources said that Japan seeks to ease relations with South Korea because it recognizes that “continuing two-line operations with China and South Korea is not the best policy”. At this stage, Japan has to concentrate on China.
Responsible Editor: Zhao Yanlong