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.