Korea Mulls Resuming Finance Ministers' Talks with Japan

The government is minded to resume finance ministerial talks with Japan in January 2014 despite icy bilateral relations.

The annual talks were halted over the Abe administration's lurch to the far right.

A high-ranking government official on Sunday said, "The government in principle believes that political conflicts should be dealt with separately from economic cooperation." The talks would probably take place in January, the official added.

The annual talks, which were designed as a channel for economic cooperation, had been held alternating between Seoul and Tokyo since 2007, except in 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis.

Heightened diplomatic tensions since December last year due to the newly-elected Abe administration's increasingly chauvinistic pronouncements on sticking points like Japanese wartime atrocities again put them on hold. 

Experts hope fresh talks could serve as the starting point to improve bilateral relations.

The official said, "Japan has several times asked for the talks to resume, and there are many issues that need to be discussed between the two sides." But he warned that Japan "must refrain from further provocations."

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 09, 2013 11:29 KST