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S. Korean president, Tokyo gov talk to improve relationship

Publication Date : 26-07-2014


South Korean President Park Geun-hye called for efforts by Japan to resolve the so-called comfort women issue during talks with visiting Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe at the Blue House on Friday.

Masuzoe conveyed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s message that Japan wants to improve the relationship between the two countries, and Park reiterated her position that ensuring a correct perception of past history is the first step toward building friendly ties.

At the beginning of the meeting, Park told Masuzoe that she thinks it is unfortunate that the two countries are in a politically difficult situation, and that the feelings of their people seem to be moving far apart.

“I’d like to ask you to work so that the two countries can develop the bilateral relationship while sharing a correct perception of past history,” she said.

Referring to the so-called comfort women issue, Park said it is “not only a matter between the two countries, but also a matter related to universal human rights. I think it can be resolved through [Japan’s] sincere efforts.”

Masuzoe offered condolences over the sinking of the Sewol ferry and conveyed a message he received verbally from Abe that Japan wants to improve Japan-South Korea relations.

At a press conference after the meeting with Park, Masuzoe did not reveal the response he received to Abe’s message, saying, “I’ll directly relay [Park’s response] to the prime minister.”

At a press conference Friday morning, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Abe asked Masuzoe when they met on July 17 to advise South Korea that Abe wishes to hold a summit meeting with Park. “He [the prime minister] said his door is always open for dialogue and that he wants to have talks because there are obstacles” between the two countries, Suga said.

“Japan and South Korea share the same sense of values and are extremely important neighbors,” Suga said. “It is extremely important to communicate at various levels.”

Abe has been saying he is positive about securing summit talks with Park. When Abe met a group of representatives of the South Korean media on July 17, he told them, “Because there are difficult problems, we should exchange opinions in an open manner.” Also, when Abe met a group of South Korean lawmakers at the Prime Minister’s Office on May 15, he said, “It is vital to persist with dialogue.”


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