Korea-Japan Finance Ministers' Meetings Resume

In early signs of a thaw in relations, Korea and Japan have agreed to resume regular meetings between their finance ministers, which were suspended due to a diplomatic spat over Dokdo. Minister of Strategy and Finance Bahk Jae-wan gave reporters the news Thursday after he emerged from a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Koriki Jojima.

Bahk was in Tokyo for the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund.

Bahk said the two sides agreed to hold the fifth regular meeting, which was postponed indefinitely, in Korea "at an opportune time." The meeting was to be held in Seoul in August, but was postponed after President Lee Myung-bak's symbolic visit to Dokdo.

The two sides seem minded to separate economics from politics. "There was a consensus that the more difficult the bilateral relationship becomes, the more badly the two countries need to strengthen economic cooperation, as well as personnel, cultural and sports exchanges," Bahk said.

"We agreed that the Korean economy functions well when the Japanese economy functions the same way and vice versa," he added.

The two countries also agreed to keep cooperating through various multilateral channels including the G20 summit. They did not discuss a bilateral currency swap deal that has recently been downsized.

Bahk and Jojima did not agree on a date. "Officials will meet to discuss the timing," Bahk added.

englishnews@chosun.com / Oct. 12, 2012 11:06 KST