Japan's Abe Plans to Meet South Korea's Moon to Discuss North Korean Crisis

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his plans to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the near future to discuss regional security issues and bilateral relations, local media reported Thursday.

Abe expressed willingness to hold the first ever bilateral talks with the South Korean president during the meeting with the Korean National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun at the prime minister's office, stressing that he wants "to build future-oriented, renewed Japan–South Korea relations with the administration of Moon Jae-in."

Just hours before the meeting North Korea launched several projectiles, suspected to be cruise missiles, toward Japan. 

Abe told that he hoped for cooperation with South Korea in dealing with repeated missile launches by Pyongyang.

"As regards North Korea issue, which is an urgent security challenge, I want to address it, closely cooperating and collaborating with South Korea," Abe stressed as quoted by the NHK broadcaster.

Chung expressed his gratitude for Abe's readiness to hold the meeting. He noted that besides security challenges, there is a number of issues two countries should cooperate on despite certain difficulties in bilateral relations, which should be resolved soon.

Abe and Moon will possibly meet in July on the sidelines of the G20 summit, which will take place in Hamburg, Germany.

Even though two countries are cooperating on regional security issues, there is a long-running diplomatic crisis caused by the issue of "comfort women", a term used to describe Korean women forced to work in wartime brothels for the Japanese military during World War II.

In December, 2015, Tokyo and Seoul reached a landmark agreement in which Japan issued an apology to the living victims of the sex slavery, and agreed to pay $8.3 million to South Korean foundation to care for these women. 

During his election campaign, Moon announced that he is planning renegotiate the deal. 

He insisted that the majority of Korean population couldn't emotionally accept it, demanding wider acknowledgment of Japanese government responsibility for war time crimes.


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