Komura, Seoul’s Yu meet to pave way for Lee visit

by Setsuko Kamiya

North Korea should make a complete, clear declaration of all its nuclear programs, as promised in the six-party negotiations, the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea said Friday in Tokyo.

Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura and his South Korean counterpart, Yu Myung Hwan, told reporters at a government reception house that they agreed their countries will work closely to peacefully resolve the North’s nuclear threat as well as Pyongyang’s abduction of Japanese nationals by its agents.

The main purpose of the meeting was to coordinate the April 20-21 official visit of President Lee Myung Bak.

“We will prepare to make the prime ministers’ meeting something that will suit the beginning of the new era of Japan and (South) Korea,” Komura said at a joint press conference in Tokyo, adding that Lee’s visit will mark the resumption of annual meetings between the leaders of the two countries.

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and ex-South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun agreed to visit each other at least once a year in December 2004, but ceased the meetings after bilateral relations soured, to a large extent because of Koizumi’s repeated visits to Tokyo’s war-related Yasukuni Shrine.

“For the two countries to establish a mature relationship, it is important for the two leaders to have an environment where they can discuss and consult with each other by opening their hearts,” Yu said, adding he has invited Komura to South Korea.

Komura and Yu said the two countries may restart negotiations on an economic partnership agreement.