Kishida, Yoon Meet on Sidelines of NATO Summit;Leaders Discuss Concern over Russia-North Korea Ties

Yonhap News Agency
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol shake hands at their summit meeting in Washington on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol held talks in Washington on Wednesday and expressed concerns over growing military ties between North Korea and Russia.

During their bilateral meeting, held on the sidelines of a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for about 35 minutes, Kishida and Yoon reaffirmed that their countries and the United States will deepen trilateral cooperation.

Kishida said at the meeting, “Under the current international situation, it is meaningful for the Japanese and South Korean leaders to exchange views and coordinate closely with each other, based on the foundation of their firm trust and shared strategic perspectives.”

Referring to a summit between the leaders of Russia and North Korea in June, Kishida expressed “serious concern” about its impact on regional security.

Yoon also mentioned the Moscow-Pyongyang relationship, saying that these two countries are accelerating close military and economic ties, causing serious concerns not only in East Asia but also for global security. He stressed the importance of trilateral cooperation among Japan, the United States and South Korea.

At the meeting, Kishida and Yoon also agreed that the Japanese and South Korean governments will actively communicate in preparation for next year’s 60th anniversary of the 1965 normalization of their relationship.

Later on the same day, Kishida also met with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and welcomed Sweden’s accession to NATO, saying that the accession has expanded opportunities for Japan-Sweden cooperation.

Kishida arrived by government aircraft at Joint Base Andrews on the outskirts of Washington on Wednesday afternoon. In addition to his talks with Yoon, he was to give a speech at the NATO summit. Together with the leaders of South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, he was also scheduled to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.