Moon Holds out Olive Branch to Suga

  • By Lee Ha-won, Roh Suk-jo

    November 16, 2020 13:06

    President Moon Jae-in addressed Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga personally in his keynote speech during a virtual summit of leaders from the ASEAN nations, Korea, China, and Japan on Nov. 14.

    Moon began by saying, "Honorable chair, excellences. In particular, it's a pleasure to meet you, Prime Minister Suga of Japan."

    But Suga did not respond in kind.

    "The overall atmosphere was friendly," a Cheong Wa Dae official claimed. Tokyo has so far brushed off a flurry of messages expressing hope of improving bilateral relations from the Korean government and ruling party.

    Japanese Prime Minister Yonshihide Suga stands behind his Minister of Economics, Trade and Industry Hiroshi Kajiyama as he signs the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in Tokyo on Sunday. /AFP-Yonhap

    The two countries are bitterly divided on the issue of compensating Koreans who were forced to labor for Japanese companies in World War II and the fallout of recent court rulings on the matter.

    Japan has yet to decide whether to attend a trilateral summit with Korea and China scheduled for late December in Seoul.

    After National Intelligence Service Director Park Jie-won and other officials visited Japan last week, a senior Japanese government official complained that they did not suggest any "realistic" solutions to sticking points between the two countries, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.

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