Leaders of Korea, Japan renew bilateral relations during Seoul summit

2023.05.08 09:58:01 | 2023.05.08 11:53:47

Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, shake hands during a summit held in Seoul on May 7. [Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]이미지 확대

Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, shake hands during a summit held in Seoul on May 7. [Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]



Leaders of South Korea and Japan held a summit in Seoul on Sunday and confirmed the restoration of shuttle diplomacy between the two countries for the first time in 12 years.

“The visit to Japan in March was the first of its kind by a Korean president in 12 years,” Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said in his opening remarks during a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

“Prime Minister Kishida also made a visit to Korea for the first time in 12 years as the Japanese prime minister. It took 12 years to resume the shuttle diplomacy but it took less than two months for the reciprocal visit by both of us,” Yoon said.

The Korean leader added that this shows that the newly launched Korea-Japan relations are accelerating forward.

Kishida’s visit comes 52 days after Yoon’s visit to Tokyo in March.

Yoon said that as he mentioned during his address at Harvard University during his trip to the U.S., the two countries should move away from the understanding that they cannot take one step for future cooperation if their past is not sorted entirely.

Kishida replied by saying that he is happy that the shuttle diplomacy has resumed fully.

“During the summit in March, we decided to enhance conversation and cooperation and dispel worries together while strengthening and re-establishing the Korea-Japan relations in the mid- to long-term,” Kishida said. “Multiple conversations have taken place dynamically in less than two months.”

The Japanese leader also underscored the need for a discussion on the solidarity on global agendas and latest affairs of the Indo-Pacific region, including North Korea, ahead of the G-7 summit.

Korea-Japan ties had soured for more than five years due to historical feuds. The last bilateral summit took place in 2011.

Kishida’s reciprocal visit to Seoul shows normalization of ties between the two countries.

The Japanese Prime Minister arrived in Seoul on Sunday and headed directly to the Seoul National Cemetery in Dongjak District where war veterans, including those that fought against the Japanese rule, are buried. It was the first visit to the cemetery by an incumbent Japanese leader in 12 years after former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in 2011.

By Park In-hye and Lee Eun-joo

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