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Pres. Moon proposes to revive shuttle diplomacy with Japan

Pres. Moon proposes to revive shuttle diplomacy with Japan

Posted May. 19, 2017 07:19,   

Updated May. 19, 2017 07:38


On Thursday morning, former Vice National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang, Korea’ Special Envoy to Japan, met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his residential office in Tokyo to hand over an autograph letter from President Moon Jae-in. While the two heads of state failed to iron out their difference over the settlement agreement on Korean women forced into sex slavery by Japanese military, there was some progress such as an agreement to restore shuttle diplomacy.

“I told him about the overwhelming public sentiment in South Korea strongly objecting to the agreement,” said Special Envoy Moon. “The matter was discussed in the president’s letter as well.” This was an issue that President Moon mentioned when having a phone call meeting with Mr. Abe on May 11.

“The agreement reached in the year before last was forged between countries, so I hope that the agreement will be faithfully implemented for our forward-looking relations,” urged Prime Minister Abe. One attendant said, “Each talked about what they wanted (to talk about).”

The letter written in two sheets of A4 paper contains a proposal to restore the shuttle diplomacy, which was practiced between Former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi as well as the new government’s stance that it will never condone North Korea’s nuclear program. As to the proposal for restoration of shuttle diplomacy, Special Envoy Moon said that Mr. Abe readily gave a “yes,” and that the details would be managed at working-level engagement. One attendant described the atmosphere of the talks as “sharing a common understanding on the need for a joint response to North Korea’s nuclear issue.”

Won-Jae Jang peacechaos@donga.com