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Top diplomats of S. Korea, Japan to hold talks in New York amid frayed ties

Flags of Japan and South Korea (123rf)
Flags of Japan and South Korea (123rf)
The foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan plan to hold talks in New York this week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in what would be only their second one-on-one meeting amid strained relations between the two countries.

The talks between Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, are expected to take place Thursday (New York time), a day after the two held trilateral talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, officials said.

It will mark the second time for Chung and Motegi to be meeting one-on-one since Chung took office in February, as the bilateral relations remain badly frayed over issues like Japan's wartime forced labor and sexual slavery.

Seoul has been seeking to improve ties with Tokyo in efforts to enlist support for moving the stalled denuclearization talks with Pyongyang forward, as the Joe Biden administration calls for stronger trilateral cooperation with its two Asian allies.

At the upcoming talks, the two are expected to address the pending historical issues stemming from Japan's 1910-45 colonization of the Korean Peninsula and other bilateral issues, including Japan's planned release of radioactive water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant

Also on the table will likely be North Korea's recent test-launches of short-range ballistic missiles and a new type of long-range cruise missiles.

The UN nuclear watchdog said earlier this week that the North's nuclear program is going "full steam ahead," citing recent signs of reactivation of its plutonium-producing nuclear reactor and uranium enrichment facility inside the Yongbyon nuclear complex.

In their previous talks in London in May, the two ministers, despite the huge gaps over the historical row, agreed on the need to develop the bilateral relations in a future-oriented manner and to closely cooperate for regional peace and stability. (Yonhap)

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