June 14, 2021 11:48
President Moon Jae-in exchanged a few words in passing with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on the sidelines of the G7 summit in the U.K.
Earlier, a Cheong Wa Dae spokesman left open the possibility of a "pull-aside" between Moon and Suga during the summit, which Moon was attending as an observer.
The Foreign Ministry said Monday the two sides tentatively agreed to sit down for talks, but Japan canceled the plan the last minute citing Seoul's biannual drills in waters off Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo, which Japan lays claim to.
Washington is pushing for a trilateral summit in an attempt to reconcile the fractious neighbors and line them up behind its new cold war against China, but the focus of the G7, which Korea is not part of, was mostly on transatlantic issues.
Moon exchanged greetings with Suga at the Carbis Bay Hotel in Cornwall last Saturday, according to Cheong Wa Dae. It was the first time they have met face to face since Suga took office last September.
Japan's Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Naoki Okada told reporters that Moon "approached" Suga and exchanged greetings "very briefly." The two sides tried to fine-tune a schedule for a bilateral summit but remain bitterly divided over historical gripes.
Moon also had a word with U.S. President Joe Biden, but it was the briefest chat since everyone wanted a piece of Biden and they had already met in the U.S. last month.
Instead, Moon sat down one-to-one with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Council President Charles Michel, and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
First lady Kim Jung-sook said hello to Suga's wife Mariko and Biden's wife Jill, who invited her to Washington. She also congratulated Boris Johnson's new wife Carrie, whom he married in secret last month.
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