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Yoon, Kishida voice hope for closer cooperation between S. Korea, Japan

Nov. 17, 2023 - 09:27 By Yonhap
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol (right) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands during their summit at a hotel in San Francisco on Thursday. (Yonhap)

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida voiced hope for closer cooperation between their countries as they met on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Thursday.

The two leaders met at a hotel in San Francisco, marking their seventh summit this year as Seoul and Tokyo have been pushing to mend badly frayed ties following the Yoon administration's decision in March to compensate Korean victims of Japan's wartime forced labor without asking for contributions from the Japanese companies involved.

"This year bilateral cooperation is deepening with the reactivation of exchanges at each level, including at the summit level, and the restoration of consultation bodies between our governments," Yoon said in his opening remarks, referring to the resumption of a series of security policy, economic security and vice foreign ministerial talks.

"Going forward I will continue to work together with Prime Minister Fumio to enable our two countries to communicate closely in each sector, including through high-level economic consultations," he added.

Kishida also noted they were meeting for the seventh time this year, and only two months after their previous summit in India.

He said he felt "reassured" by the close cooperation between South Korea and Japan in flying their nationals out of Israel amid its war with Hamas.

"Until now I have worked with President Yoon for bilateral cooperation in various areas, including politics, security guarantees, the economy and culture," Kishida said. "I hope to further push forward with these steps."

Noting that the world is at a historical turning point, the prime minister expressed his strong commitment to leading the world toward cooperation, not division and conflict, saying he believes Japan and South Korea can work together as partners in that respect.

The presidential office later said the two leaders also talked about increasing exchanges between the countries' youths and actively working together to tackle global challenges.

"As South Korea, the US and Japan will serve together as members of the UN Security Council starting next year, they agreed the three countries will cooperate on North Korea, Ukraine and other key security issues based on the Camp David spirit," the presidential office said in a press release, referring to the trilateral summit with US President Joe Biden held at Camp David in August.

"Furthermore, they called for trilateral cooperation on wide-ranging issues, including in the cutting-edge science and technology sector," it said. (Yonhap)