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The first formal meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye — which took place in a trilateral setting along with U.S. President Barack Obama — may be a positive step for repairing Tokyo-Seoul ties. But Abe and Park need to follow that up with a bilateral summit as quickly as possible by judiciously handling the historical and territorial issues that have strained the relationship.

The talks held on Tuesday in The Hague, after the three leaders took part in the Nuclear Security Summit, had reportedly been brokered by the United States in a bid to set the stage for thawing the political ice between its key Asian allies before Obama’s scheduled visit to the two countries in April.

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