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Korea May Hold Summit Talk With Japan

Posted August. 17, 2006 03:34,   


Will the Korea-Japan summit meeting finally take place once Japan elects its new prime minister next month?

The Japanese government has decided to take steps to hold summit meetings with South Korea and China within this year when new prime minister succeeding Junichiro Koizumi is elected on September 20.

According to Yomiuri Shimbun on August 16, the Japanese government is planning to realize the Korea-Japan and China-Japan summit meetings at the APEC summit conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, in November and the ASEAN+3 summit conference in December.

This decision to take advantage of the international conference follows the judgment that that a summit meeting in the form of mutual visits is unlikely due to the tense sentiments in Korea and China against Japan after the prayer visit by Prime Minister Koizumi to controversial Yasukuni Shrine.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, a strong candidate for the next prime minister, is known to have acknowledged the necessity of summit meetings with its neighbors.

The Korean government is considering holding a Korea-Japan summit based on the recognition of its necessity, though it has not disclosed the specifics. Its position is that it needs to keep control by means of the international conferences so as not to let Japan pressure North Korea excessively in order to solve the North Korean nuclear problems peacefully.

But the problem is the attitude that the new Japanese prime minister decides to take toward visits to Yasukuni Shrine.

Korean Presidential Secretary for Foreign Affairs Seo Ju-seok appeared on a radio program of Korea Broadcasting System 1 on August 16 and answered “yes” to the question whether the principle not to have a summit with a Japanese prime minister visiting Yasukuni Shrine even if Abe is elected as the new prime minister.

The dispute over the sovereignty of Dokdo islets is another obstacle. Japan is requesting adoption of a system whereby the two nations notify each other in advance when carrying out marine investigations around Dokdo. But the position of the South Korean government is that it does not need to notify Japan of its plan to have investigations since it is its sovereign right to hold marine researches in the exclusive economic zone that belongs to it.

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