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Tokyo, Seoul reaffirm cooperation over N. Korea

Jiji Press

Kenji Kanasugi, a director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, speaks to reporters in Seoul on Saturday.

Jiji Press SEOUL (Jiji Press) — Senior diplomat Kenji Kanasugi on Saturday reiterated Japan’s stance to continue cooperation with South Korea over issues related to North Korea, despite strained ties between Tokyo and Seoul.

On the day, Kanasugi, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, met with Lee Do-hoon, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs at the South Korean Foreign Ministry, in Seoul.

“Although it’s true that Japan and South Korea have difficult bilateral issues, Lee and I share the view that cooperation between the two countries and among the two plus the United States is important in dealing with North Korean issues,” Kanasugi told reporters after the meeting.

“From this perspective, we had good discussions this time, too,” he added.

Relations between Japan and South Korea have deteriorated due to a series of South Korean top court rulings that ordered Japanese firms to pay compensation to South Koreans who were requisitioned to work in Japan during World War II and an incident last December in which a South Korean destroyer directed its fire-control radar at a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force patrol plane over the Sea of Japan.

Also on Saturday, Kanasugi held a meeting with Stephen Biegun, U.S. special representative for North Korea, in Seoul. Kanasugi, Biegun and Lee also had trilateral discussions.

“We exchanged opinions from the standpoint of how we should make the upcoming second U.S.-North Korea summit as fruitful as possible toward comprehensively resolving North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and the issue of its abductions of Japanese and other foreign nationals,” Kanasugi said.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are set to hold talks on Feb. 27-28. Trump said Friday that the meeting will be held in Hanoi.

Trump and Kim met in Singapore in June 2018 in the first-ever summit between the United States and North Korea.

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