Japan, the United States and South Korea are preparing for a possible summit next week in the Netherlands, where the countries’ leaders are scheduled to attend an international conference, Japanese sources said Thursday.
The event provides an opportunity for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to hold his first meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye amid bilateral tensions over historical issues and is a chance for the two neighbors to improve their relations, as hoped for by the United States.
Abe, Park and President Barack Obama will be attending the Nuclear Security Summit scheduled for Monday and Tuesday in The Hague.
“We have issues to be addressed between Japan and South Korea,” Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters. “But we have also said that high-level political dialogues are necessary only because we are in a difficult situation.”
Kishida declined to directly mention the possible trilateral summit in The Hague, but “hopes South Korea will accept” such dialogue.
Summit ‘not decided’
A summit among the leaders of South Korea, the United States and Japan at the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands next week has not been decided, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday.
“Regarding the summit . . . nothing has been decided on at the moment,” Cho Tai-young told a press briefing.
Reports said South Korean President Park Geun-hye, U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may use the summit to reaffirm their security cooperation on the North Korean nuclear standoff and to allow Park and Abe to have their first summit and try to mend badly frayed ties between the two countries.
Asked to clarify South Korea’s position on the summit, Cho declined to elaborate, saying, “Nothing has been decided on (the summit).”
Abe expressed his intention last week to honor his country’s past statements of apology for its 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korea Peninsula.
Park welcomed Abe’s assurance his administration will not retract Japan’s 1993 apology for forcing women into sexual slavery during World War II.
Abe has not held formal talks with Park since she came to power in February 2012.
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