October 20, 2011 12:31
President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Wednesday agreed to increase the currency swap line between the two countries from US$13 billion to US$70 billion to stabilize their currency markets.
Noda invited Lee to come to Japan for a state visit this year, but Lee was noncommittal.
Noda called for talks about a bilateral free trade agreement, which came to an impasse in 2006, to resume soon.
At the press conference that followed their meeting, Noda said, "We decided to begin to work on working-level materials for resumption of the FTA talks."
But Lee said, "We agree in principle that it is best to do it at the earliest possible date, but an FTA should bring win-win results for both parties, and we may have different views depending on industries."
The key areas in dispute are apparently manufactured goods such as cars, electronics and parts. A key Cheong Wa Dae official said, "These industries in Korea are concerned that an FTA would add an even greater trade deficit against Japan, and unless the issue is addressed, Korea won't be so keen on an FTA."
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