S.Korea, Japan to Resume Shuttle Diplomacy

  • By Kim Soo-hye, Lee Dong-hwi

    May 19, 2017 12:54

    President Moon Jae-in's special envoy to Japan and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday agreed to resume shuttle diplomacy between the two countries and strengthen cooperation against the North Korean nuclear threat.

    The shuttle diplomacy, whereby the leaders of the two countries take turns visiting each other, started in 2004 during the Roh Moo-hyun administration but it was intermittently stopped depending on the political situation.

    Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced the agreement to resume shuttle diplomacy.

    South Korean envoy Moon Hee-sang (left) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a meeting in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday. /Yonhap

    The envoy, lawmaker Moon Hee-sang, also delivered a letter from the Korean president to Abe.

    It calls for closer cooperation to deal with the North Korean nuclear menace but also warns that an overwhelming majority of South Koreans are emotionally unable to accept a deal to compensate victims of wartime sex slavery clinched by the Park Geun-hye administration.

    In December 2015, the two countries agreed to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the issue, with Tokyo 1 billion yen in indirect compensation but accepting no clear responsibility for the atrocity.

    In return Tokyo asked Seoul to remove statues commemorating the victims from the immediate vicinity of Japanese diplomatic missions.

    Both sides avoided the controversy in the meeting.

    Yoon Ho-joong, a lawmaker who was part of the delegation, said, "80 percent of the meeting was about the North Korean nuclear crisis, and both sides refrained from comments that could make the other side uncomfortable."

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