South Korean President Moon Jae-in, center right, talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center left, ahead of the ASEAN+3 Summit in Nonthaburi, Thailand, on Monday. Photo: Presidential Blue House via AP
politics

U.S. official says Moon-Abe meeting was 'encouraging sign'

8 Comments

A senior U.S. official said Wednesday an unexpected meeting this week between the leaders of South Korea and Japan was an "encouraging sign" that the Asian U.S. allies are on track to improve a relationship strained by deep disagreements over trade and history.

David Stilwell, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, spoke while visiting South Korea weeks before the expiration of a military intelligence-sharing agreement between Seoul and Tokyo. The Trump administration been pressuring its allies to keep the deal, which symbolizes the countries' trilateral security cooperation with Washington in face of the North Korean nuclear threat and China's growing influence.

On Monday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in initiated an 11-minute meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of a regional forum in Thailand, the latest step taken by Seoul to deescalate the feud with the deadline on the military agreement approaching.

"President Moon and Prime Minister Abe had the opportunity to talk and that's an encouraging sign as we watched the relationship improve," Stilwell told reporters after a meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.

Seoul's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that during her talks with Stilwell and Keith Krach, U.S. undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, Kang explained South Korean efforts to find "rational solutions" through dialogue over the issues with Japan.

Stilwell also met with Kim Hyun-chong, deputy chief of South Korea's presidential National Security Office, and they had "constructive and future-oriented" talks over the Seoul-Tokyo military pact and ongoing negotiations between Washington and Seoul on sharing the costs for keeping U.S. troops in South Korea, the presidential Blue House said. South Korean and U.S. officials didn't share the specifics of their discussions.

In recent months, Seoul and Tokyo have seen their relations sink to a low unseen in decades.

Japan has denounced South Korean court rulings calling for Japanese companies to offer reparations to aging South Korean plaintiffs for their World War II forced labor, insisting that all compensation matters were settled when the two countries normalized relations under a 1965 treaty.

South Korea accused Tokyo of ignoring the suffering of South Koreans under Japan's brutal colonial rule of Korea from 1910 to 1945 and furiously reacted to Japanese moves to tighten controls on key technology exports to the country and downgrade its trade status.

The dispute spilled over to security issues, with Seoul saying it plans to terminate the military agreement with Tokyo. Following an angry reaction from the Trump administration, Seoul said it could reconsider its decision to end the military agreement if Japan relists South Korea as a favored trade partner. The pact will expire in late November.

Monday's meeting between Moon and Abe was their first since they held a summit on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in September 2018.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


8 Comments
Login to comment

The Trump administration been pressuring its allies to keep the deal,

There is only one "ally" that needs to be pressured.

The dispute spilled over to security issues, with Seoul saying it plans to terminate the military agreement with Tokyo. Following an angry reaction from the Trump administration, Seoul said it could reconsider its decision to end the military agreement if Japan relists South Korea as a favored trade partner. The pact will expire in late November.

Wow...blackmailing the United States in order to get it's way with Japan. All South Korea needs to do is provide the export information that Japan has been requesting from them for three years. The dispute did not "spill over" into security issues, South Korea made them security issues. Absolutely disgusted with this country's attitude and behavior.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

@OssanJapan

Wow...blackmailing the United States in order to get it's way with Japan. 

The US continues to get critical radar data as before. It is just Japan that is cut off.

Anyhow, Stillwell was told that Korea will end the GSOMIA as scheduled on November 23rd unless Japan retracts the export control, Stillwell replied he would go to Tokyo and see what he could do but understood that the Korean position didn't change contrary to misreporting by Japanese press.

http://world.kbs.co.kr/service/news_view.htm?lang=e&Seq_Code=149181

Tokyo Calls GSOMIA, Japan's Export Curbs on S. Korea Two Different Issues

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga asserted during a regular media briefing Wednesday that the two are separate issues of different dimensions in response to questions on the General Security of Military Information Agreement(GSOMIA) and Japan’s export curbs on South Korea.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

South Korea accused Tokyo of ignoring the suffering of South Koreans under Japan's brutal colonial rule of Korea from 1910 to 1945 and furiously reacted to Japanese moves to tighten controls on key technology exports to the country and downgrade its trade status.

If it was really brutal ruling, one would neither voluntarily take a passage to such country for living, not to mention by resorting to illegal passage, nor chose to stay there forever

8 ( +11 / -3 )

If it was really brutal ruling, one would neither voluntarily take a passage to such country for living, not to mention by resorting to illegal passage, nor chose to stay there forever

Exactly. They should have just googled Japan before going.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

So, it was a US pressure that Abe talked with Moon for 11 minutes.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Exactly. They should have just googled Japan before going.

No need for today's convenience. Their experience SHOULD HAVE BEEN spread out among those who hankered after Japan as the facts showed many happy Koreans returned home with fortune , forced labors or comfort women.

If it was so brutal ruling by brutal people, those who came over here must have been masochists with an extremely difficult personality who, I guess, would not have known proper usage of Japanese language.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

No need for today's convenience. Their experience SHOULD HAVE BEEN spread out among those who hankered after Japan

Yeah, why weren't they Tweeting it for the people back home to hear?

the facts showed many happy Koreans returned home with fortune , forced labors or comfort women.

Ahh, so are they the ones who should have been tweeting?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Yeah, why weren't they Tweeting it for the people back home to hear?

Who cares. Maybe they are those monomaniacs with extremely difficult personalities, too bored and has got nothing else to do except resorting to sending meaningless comments

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites