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Abe, Park on same page on North Korea sanctions

Kyodo

Japan and South Korea agreed Wednesday to cooperate on imposing additional sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear arms threat and to develop “future-oriented” bilateral relations by addressing issues linked to their shared history, a Japanese official said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and new South Korean President Park Geun Hye confirmed in a telephone conversation that the two countries will work together so the U.N. Security Council penalizes North Korea following its third nuclear test last month.

The 15-minute chat was the leaders’ first since Park was inaugurated on Feb. 25.

While calling Japan a crucial partner for South Korea in East Asia, Park underscored that “recognition of history” will be key for the neighbors to create a “future-oriented relationship,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko told reporters after the talks.

Park earlier called for Japan to “honestly reflect” on history, referring to Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Abe responded by proposing cooperation to “create future-oriented relations while being fully aware of the past,” Seko added.

The leaders’ talks came amid strained bilateral relations caused in part by a territorial dispute over South Korean-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan. Last August, then-South Korean President Lee Myung Bak became the first leader of the country to visit the territory, which is known by Japan as Takeshima but by the South as Dokdo.