Japan and ROK Hold Summit and Agreed on “Close Communication”; Leaders Pledge to Strengthen Coordination

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, shakes hands with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol before a summit meeting at the Office of the President in Seoul on Sunday.

SEOUL – Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol held a summit meeting in Seoul on Sunday. The two leaders agreed to strengthen relations through close communication at all levels, including between leaders, ahead of next year’s 60th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Seoul in 1965.

This is the 10th face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since November last year and the fourth instance of “shuttle diplomacy” — when leaders visit each other’s nation.

After Yoon’s conservative ruling party was defeated in the April general election, there were concerns about the impact on Japan-South Korea relations. However, Yoon emphasized that he would continue to prioritize relations with Japan.

Regarding the upcoming 60th anniversary, Yoon said that he would like to work to create a historical turning point that raises the two countries’ relations to new heights.

The two leaders agreed to further enhance coordination between Japan and South Korea, with a view to maintaining and strengthening a free and open Indo-Pacific and addressing global issues.

Kishida and Yoon also agreed to maintain shuttle diplomacy and to respond to North Korea, which continues to develop nuclear weapons and missiles, with bilateral and trilateral coordination between Japan, South Korea and the United States. Additionally, they welcomed further cooperation within the fields of hydrogen and ammonia, which are attracting attention as next-generation fuels.

Yoon said that Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry’s administrative penalties against LY Corp., the operator of the Line app, was a matter separate from diplomacy which needed to be managed well to avoid creating an unresolved issue.