Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi left for South Korea on Monday evening on a two-day visit that will include the presidential inauguration of Roh Moo Hyun.

Following Tuesday’s inauguration ceremony, Koizumi will hold his first summit with the new president.

The talks are expected to focus on efforts to settle the North Korean nuclear standoff peacefully through a trilateral alliance with the U.S.

Discussions are also expected to focus on resolving historical disputes between Japan and South Korea.

Koizumi and Roh, whom Japanese government officials have described as a new face on the bilateral diplomatic stage, are also expected to seek increased economic and cultural ties.

Few surprises are likely to emerge from the summit, given that it will be held shortly after Roh’s inauguration.

Koizumi and Roh are expected to touch on how the international community should deal with the Iraq crisis.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday in Tokyo that the U.N. Security Council should decide on the issue soon after March 7.

Regarding North Korea, Koizumi and Roh will discuss how to ease concerns in collaboration with the U.S. over Pyongyang’s suspected development of a nuclear arms program.

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