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Only first ladies of S. Korea and Japan met without presidents

Only first ladies of S. Korea and Japan met without presidents

Posted September. 26, 2019 07:26,   

Updated September. 26, 2019 07:26


A meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe fell apart again despite the two leaders visiting New York at the same time for the United Nations General Assembly. On a brighter note, first ladies of the two countries, Kim Jung-sook and Akie Abe, met and shared greetings.

Kim delivered a speech at the conference on universal health care for the developmentally disabled held at the New York Public Library on Tuesday (local time). The conference, which was organized by the United Nations Children's Fund and the World Health Organization, was attended by first ladies of many countries, including Akie Abe and Queen Mathilde Philippe of Belgium. In fact, the South Korean first lady paid respect to the two in the audience at the beginning of her speech.

Upon leaving the conference hall after her speech, Kim saw Akie and the two shook hands and shared a hug. The South Korean presidential office reported that there wasn’t much conversation between the two, other than greetings.

It has been over three months since the last time the two first ladies met each other during the G20 summit held in Osaka, Japan in June. Back then, the interaction between the leaders of the two countries lasted only seven seconds during a short handshake but the South Korean first lady attended a tea gathering for G20 first ladies hosted by Akie.

Sang-Jun Han alwaysj@donga.com