Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi on Thursday congratulated Park Jung Soo, newly appointed South Korean foreign and trade minister, on his posting and suggested the two hold an early meeting.

Over the telephone, the two agreed to meet soon to try to improve relations, which have been deteriorating amid the deadlock over a bilateral fisheries pact, Foreign Ministry officials said. Obuchi and Park did not set a venue or date for the meeting during their 15-minute conversation, but have earlier hinted they might meet by the end of this month partly to prepare for the first meeting early next month between Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and President Kim Dae Jung when they attend the second summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting in London.

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