National / Politics

Japan, South Korea plan vice ministerial talks in Seoul next week

Kyodo

Japan and South Korea are making final arrangements to hold vice minister-level talks in Seoul this week, sources close to Japan-South Korea relations said Saturday.

Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki is scheduled to visit Seoul on Monday for a meeting with first Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong, the sources said.

The meeting comes at a time Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye have not yet held a formal one-on-one summit since the two leaders took office, Abe in 2012 and Park in 2013, due to strained bilateral ties.

Tensions exist between Japan and South Korea because of territorial or other issues, such as the ongoing saga of the “comfort women,” Japan’s euphemism for the mostly Korean females who were tricked or rounded up en masse to provide sex for Imperial Japanese troops before and during the war.

The two countries have held director general-level talks five times to tackle such concerns but have failed to find common ground, leading them to upgrade the talks to the vice ministerial level, the sources said.