WASHINGTON -- The top diplomats of South Korea and Japan agreed Saturday to strengthen coordination amid a flurry of diplomacy with North Korea and pending bilateral issues, the South's foreign ministry said.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha met with her Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, in Washington on the margins of a three-day official visit here.
They exchanged views mainly on North Korea and Seoul-Tokyo ties, with both sides agreeing the planned summits between Seoul and Pyongyang, and between Washington and Pyongyang, would become an important turning point in the impasse over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, the ministry said.
|South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (left) and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono shake hands at a meeting in Washington on Saturday. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Yonhap)|
"To this end, they agreed to further strengthen the close cooperation and communication between South Korea and Japan, as well as between South Korea, the US, and Japan," it said in a press release.
Kang noted that Japan has been sending "positive messages" on its willingness to improve ties with North Korea and bring peace to the Korean Peninsula and beyond. She called on Japan to help maintain the momentum for dialogue with North Korea, which sprung out of the North's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
Kono "assessed the South Korean government's active efforts for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" and expressed hope an improvement in South-North ties would lead to a resolution of Tokyo-Pyongyang issues, including that of Japanese nationals abducted by the North in the 1970s and 1980s.
On bilateral issues, the two ministers committed to strengthening communication at various levels to build a future-oriented relationship, the ministry said.
In particular, they agreed to work closely to arrange a trilateral summit with China at an early date, and look to enable a visit to Japan by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and a visit to Seoul by Kono. (Yonhap)