Kishida, Yoon unlikely to hold talks in Spain

Pool via Reuters/File photo
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks during a ceremony marking Korean Memorial Day at the Seoul National cemetery on June 6 in Seoul.

SEOUL (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol are unlikely to hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, a South Korean presidential official said Sunday.

Both Kishida and Yoon are scheduled to attend the NATO summit set for Wednesday and Thursday.

The South Korea side apparently does not want such talks to affect next month’s election for the House of Councillors at a time when relations between the two countries have been strained due to history issues.

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin is also expected to postpone his trip to Japan until after the upper house election. Momentum toward resolving pending issues between the two countries is expected to grow after the election, the South Korean presidential official said.

A proposed summit of Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand is unlikely to take place in Madrid.

The South Korean official said Kishida, Yoon and U.S. President Joe Biden are expected to hold a trilateral meeting in Madrid on Wednesday afternoon.

The trilateral summit of Japan, the United States and South Korea will be the first since September 2017. The three leaders are expected to confirm their cooperation over North Korea’s nuclear and missile program.