Abe seeks early talks with newly elected S. Korea president
By News Desk
10 May 2017

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to hold a meeting with new South Korean President Moon Jae In. 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he intends to hold a meeting or dialogue with new South Korean President Moon Jae In as soon as possible to build a trusting relationship between Japan and South Korea.

Abe made the remark Wednesday at a liaison meeting of the government and ruling parties held in the afternoon at the Prime Minister’s Office.

On Tuesday evening, Abe issued a statement saying: “I would like to meet [with Moon] as soon as possible. I’m looking forward to frankly exchanging opinions about common matters of concern.”

At the meeting on Wednesday, Abe said: “South Korea is one of our most important neighbouring countries and shares strategic interests. I would like to cooperate [with South Korea] to deal with problems involving North Korea, and to make progress on future-oriented relations between Japan and South Korea.”

Abe expressed his intention to quickly build a relationship with Moon to cope with North Korean affairs, which have become increasingly tense.

The Japanese government is arranging schedules so that telephone talks between Abe and Moon will be held as soon as possible. The government also aims to hold a meeting between Abe and Moon on an occasion such as the summit meeting of Group of 20 countries to be held in July in Hamburg, Germany, or the U.N. General Assembly to be held in September in New York.

At the same time, the Japanese government aims to closely observe the new South Korean administration’s policy on Japan.

During the presidential election campaign, Moon urged for a renegotiation of the Japan-South Korea deal on so-called comfort women, which was made in December 2015.

The Japanese government predicts that there is a high possibility Moon will demand renegotiation.

At a press conference Wednesday morning, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said: “The Japan-South Korea agreement has been highly praised by the international community. It is important for both Japan and South Korea to implement the agreement in a responsible manner.”

Suga’s remark indicates the Japanese government’s view that there is no room for renegotiation.

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