National / Politics

Japan Communist Party leader to visit South Korea, urge regional peace treaty


The Japanese Communist Party said its leader will visit South Korea starting Friday in a bid to improve relations between the two countries, which have soured over a territorial dispute and differing perceptions of wartime history.

On Monday, Kazuo Shii will deliver a speech at Korea University in Seoul in which he plans to highlight a party initiative to promote peace in Northeast Asia by getting countries in the region to sign a treaty of amity and cooperation. He is expected to return to Japan the following day.

Yoshiki Yamashita, head of the party’s secretariat, told a press conference on Tuesday he hopes the visit will “lead to a breakthrough in bilateral ties that are in a stalemate” and will also “contribute to the progress of peace and stability in Northeast Asia.”

Shii unveiled the proposed peace initiative for Northeast Asia at the party’s convention in January. The Japanese Communist Party said the treaty should include the renunciation of the use of force and the promotion of dialogue for confidence building.

Separately, South Korean President Park Geun-hye has proposed an initiative aimed at building trust in Northeast Asia through cooperation in non-political areas.

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