November 15, 2013 10:58
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Korean lawmakers on Thursday and said he is keen to meet with President Park Geun-hye "before the end of this year."
Abe also told Korean Ambassador to Japan Lee Byung-kee on Wednesday that he hopes to meet Park "in the near future."
The Japanese leader met for 20 minutes with a group of Korean lawmakers in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon.
Abe greeted the lawmakers in Korean and stressed throughout the meeting the importance of Seoul-Tokyo relations, according to officials who were there.
The Japanese premier has frequently called for a summit with Park, but Cheong Wa Dae feels this cannot happen unless the rightwing Abe administration stops trying to whitewash Japanese atrocities against Koreans during the 1910-1945 occupation.
But experts warn that this could make it look as though Korea was the source of the friction.
Lee Jong-won at Japan's Waseda University said, "Japan has repeatedly called for a summit, so other countries might get the wrong impression that Korea is to blame for worsening bilateral relations."
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