Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda will make a one-day visit Jan. 15 to South Korea to prepare for a summit between Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and South Korean President Kim Young Sam later this month.Ikeda will exchange views with South Korean Foreign Minister Yoo Chong Ha on a variety of issues, including the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, according to Foreign Ministry officials. He initially planned to visit Seoul in late December but postponed that trip because of the hostage crisis at the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Peru. Hashimoto and Kim are to meet Jan. 25 and 26 in Beppu, Oita Prefecture.The Korean situation will be a top issue in the meeting between Ikeda and Yoo, as recent tension between North and South Korea, triggered by an intrusion of commandos aboard a North Korean submarine that beached in South Korea last September, has eased since the end of last year. Seoul had toughened its stance on building two light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea since the submarine incident. It said it could not support the efforts of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization unless Pyongyang made a clear apology over the intrusion. Seoul is a major financier of the project.The consortium was launched last March to provide North Korea with the light-water reactors in exchange for a freeze on Pyongyang’s nuclear program, which was suspected of having a military nature.
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