Is Korea the new Japan
Summit between Japan and the Republic of Korea
On Sunday, December 18, 2011, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and the President of the Republic of Korea, Lee Myung-bak, who was visiting Japan, met in Kyoto for a one-hour bilateral summit. The Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tsuyoshi Saito on the Japanese side and the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Japan, Shin Kak-soo, on the South Korean side, were also present at the meeting. This meeting helped to further develop the “shuttle diplomacy” agreed at the last summit in October and to fill it with life. The previous evening, President Lee's 71st birthday and 41st wedding anniversary (both December 19) had been celebrated at a dinner given by Prime Minister Noda. This enabled the personal and mutual trust-based relationships between the two personalities to be further deepened.
1. Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea
(1) Prime Minister Noda stated that Japan and South Korea were both close allies of the United States; they are also closely linked by fundamental values and common interests, such as the maintenance of peace and prosperity in the East Asia region. On the basis of the personal and trusting relationship with the president as well as the lively exchange between the people in both countries, he wants to shape diverse and future-oriented Japanese-South Korean relations. After the severe earthquake in eastern Japan, Japan had "projects to strengthen bonds of friendship (kizuna) ”In order to promote the understanding of the revival of Japan through the exchange of young people from the affected region. A youth exchange with the Republic of Korea will be organized in this way by the end of March 2013, in which approx. 1300 young people will take part. President Lee said that precisely because the prospects for the world economy are currently bleak and uncertain and because there are problems relating to North Korea, he wants to further expand the bilateral exchange of views. It is increasingly important that both countries deal with regional as well as global issues of mutual interest.
(2) Regarding the handover of historical documents, Prime Minister Noda asked that the documents already handed over by Japan to the Republic of Korea be kept as a testimony to mutual friendship. He expressed the wish that the improved access to documents from Japan, which are located in the Republic of Korea, would help to further promote cultural exchanges between the two countries. President Lee thanked the Prime Minister for his stance on the delivery of the documents and said that access to documents of Japanese origin in South Korea could be further improved.
(3) Both sides welcomed the progress of the “Second Joint Research Project for a New Era between Japan and the Republic of Korea” agreed at the last summit in October. It was agreed to prepare a third research project. Note: "Joint historical research by Japan and the Republic of Korea" The first research project started in 2001; A corresponding report was published in 2005. The second research project was initiated in 2005 and the corresponding report was published in March 2010. The vote on the specific time of the start of the third research project, including the participating researchers, will take place at a later point in time.
(4) With regard to the so-called Wartime Comfort Women, President Lee said that solving this problem would help resolve a number of outstanding issues. Solving this problem takes real courage. The President underlined the importance of this issue and urged it to be looked at. Prime Minister Noda said Japan has always made its legal position clear on the matter and that its country's position is known. Japan has already been involved in this matter from a humanitarian point of view and will continue to consider appropriate steps from a humanitarian point of view. The Prime Minister expressed regret to President Lee that a memorial was erected in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. He demanded the rapid removal of this monument.
(5) Prime Minister Noda said that there were difficult issues in relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea, including the problems raised by the Japanese side. However, he will work to ensure that these issues do not have a negative impact on Japan-South Korean relations as a whole and strive for cooperation that pursues a perspective from a high point of view. This also included the regular and frequent implementation of shuttle diplomacy. President Lee said there were a number of unresolved issues between Japan and South Korea. However, he wants to conduct a dialogue based on personal relationships and he also strives for frequent use of shuttle diplomacy. The President thanked for the invitation to this summit meeting and said that he was very impressed by the atmosphere in the guest house of the Government of Japan in Kyoto.
Note: On December 17, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba asked the Presidential Office of the Republic of Korea to refrain from a planned visit by members of the South Korean parliament on the island of Takeshima and the construction of further facilities on this island.
(6) Both sides also exchanged views on the great importance of the exchange of military information.
2. Economic relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea including a bilateral economic partnership agreement (EPA)
Prime Minister Noda mentioned, among other things, the successful completion of joint research by Japan and the Republic of Korea on a free trade agreement, in which representatives from business, government and science from both countries were involved. He also referred to bilateral cooperation in the negotiations on an investment agreement between Japan and the Republic of Korea, the resumption of negotiations on an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), reconstruction in the Tohoku region after the major earthquake, and nuclear safety . President Lee pointed out that exchanges between the two countries at the citizen level have increased significantly. He wants to work to make this exchange as lively as possible.
3. North Korea
With regard to the problems related to North Korea, both sides stressed that they would cooperate bilaterally and in close coordination with the United States on North Korea's nuclear and missile problems, including uranium enrichment activities. It is important that the dialogue between the two Korean states and between the United States and North Korea continue and lead to concrete steps on the North Korean side. Both sides agreed that the latest developments were a result of close cooperation between Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States. Prime Minister Noda thanked the South Korean side for their understanding and cooperation on the issue of kidnapped Japanese nationals. President Lee replied that his country's position on the kidnappings was unchanged.
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