Tokyo, Seoul begin coordination for summit talk

Yomiuri Shimbun file photos
Left: Prime Minister Fumio Kishida; Right: South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol

The governments of Japan and South Korea have begun coordination to hold a summit meeting of the leaders of the two countries on the sidelines of international conferences to be held in Southeast Asia from Nov. 10 to 16, sources said.

The two governments want to ensure full communication between the two leaders to enhance deterrence against North Korea, which has repeatedly launched missiles. If a face-to-face summit meeting takes place, it will be the first such meeting in about three years.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol met in the United States in September, but only for a casual meeting. This was due to the fact that there is no prospect of progress on the issue of former wartime requisitioned workers from the Korean Peninsula, which is Tokyo’s biggest concern.

Talks over the issue are ongoing, but in light of growing tension in the North Korean situation, understanding of the need for a summit meeting is increasing on the Japanese side.

On Friday, Kishida had dinner with the vice president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Taro Aso, and others in Tokyo. Aso had visited South Korea on Wednesday and met with Yoon. At the dinner, Aso informed Kishida that the South Korean side was positive about improving relations.

Kishida will soon make a decision on the summit meeting after carefully assessing the stance of the South Korean side toward resolving the issue of the former requisitioned workers.