Moon Jae-in, Shinzo Abe back dialogue to resolve South Korea-Japan dispute as two leaders meet on sidelines of ASEAN in Bangkok

Meeting comes as bilateral ties have plunged to their lowest in decades after S Korea's top court last year ordered Japanese firms to compensate some wartime forced labourers

Reuters November 04, 2019 11:31:50 IST
Moon Jae-in, Shinzo Abe back dialogue to resolve South Korea-Japan dispute as two leaders meet on sidelines of ASEAN in Bangkok
  • South Korea's president Moon Jae-in on Monday suggested high-level talks to resolve a deepening political and trade row with Japan

  • The two leaders held an 11-minute discussion on the sidelines of a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Bangkok

  • Meeting comes as bilateral ties have plunged to their lowest in decades after S Korea's top court last year ordered Japanese firms to compensate some wartime forced labourers

Seoul: South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in on Monday suggested high-level talks to resolve a deepening political and trade row with Japan during a meeting with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, Moon’s spokeswoman said.

Moon Jaein Shinzo Abe back dialogue to resolve South KoreaJapan dispute as two leaders meet on sidelines of ASEAN in Bangkok

File image of Moon Jae-in. AP

The two leaders held an 11-minute discussion on the sidelines of a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bangkok, the spokeswoman, Ko Min-jung, said in a statement.

“Both leaders reaffirmed the principle that bilateral issues should be resolved through dialogue,” Ko said, referring to ongoing working-level talks between the two countries’ foreign ministries.“President Moon offered higher-level talks if necessary, and prime minister Abe suggested seeking a resolution through all available means.”

The meeting comes as bilateral ties have plunged to their lowest in decades after South Korea’s top court last year ordered Japanese firms to compensate some wartime forced labourers.

As the feud spilled over into trade and security issues, Moon and Abe have not held a summit for more than a year, though they shook hands at a Group of 20 leaders’ meeting in Japan in June.

Moon sent prime minister Lee Nak-yon to Tokyo last month for Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony with a personal letter calling for efforts to mend ties. But there has been little sign of progress, as Abe said the issue of wartime forced labour was settled by a 1965 treaty that normalised relations following Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule.

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