Go to contents

Seoul Refuses to Have Diplomatic Talks With Tokyo

Posted July. 18, 2008 08:07,   


In protest to Japan’s claim over the sovereignty of the Dokdo islets, Seoul turned down Tokyo’s proposal to hold foreign ministerial talks at the Asia Regional Forum (ARF) slated for July 22-24 in Singapore.

“Japan suggested holding a bilateral foreign ministerial meeting in Singapore. But, after internal discussions, we replied that we have no plan to do so,” said a Foreign Ministry official yesterday.

“The decision was made based on the belief that the bilateral ministerial meeting cannot solve any problem unless Japan changes its attitude,” said the official.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young also commented, “There is no need for the two countries’ foreign ministers to meet on purpose when the atmosphere is strained over the Dokdo issue.”

Korea has always held bilateral talks with its allies, such as the United States and Japan, at multilateral meetings including ARF without exception.

Depending on how the Japanese government and the Korean public response to the issue in the future, Seoul’s decision may also affect upcoming state visits, such as the trilateral summit meeting between Korea, China and Japan scheduled in September, and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda’s return visit, which is expected to take place in September or October.

“Nothing has been decided for now over how the government will handle the planned diplomatic events,” a government official said. “However, we will not overlook the case as if nothing has happened unless the Japanese government takes a measure.”