ROK still cautious on summit with Japan amid series of talks
Updated: 2015-05-26 17:05
SEOUL - The Republic of Korea on Tuesday expressed its still cautious stance toward a summit with Japan despite a series of ministerial-level talks between the two countries in security, economy and tourism.
The ROK's foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kwang-il told a press briefing Tuesday that the country is basically open to a summit with Japan, but he said the summit should become a dialogue to build sustainable trust, not a dialogue for dialogue given the past experiences of the ROK-Japan summit.
Noh said the ROK has maintained a position that conditions should be formed to make such summit possible, indicating Japan's repentance and apology for its wartime atrocities during World War II.
The ROK's President Park Geun-hye has refused, since her inauguration in February 2013, to sit down face-to-face with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe citing his wrong perception of history.
Abe failed during his speech to the US Congress last month to mention Japan's aggression and colonial rule, and to express his apology for Japan's brutalities, including comfort women, hundreds of thousands of women, mostly Koreans, forced into sex slavery for Japan's military brothels during World War II.
Despite the ongoing conflicts between the ROK and Japan over wartime history, the two nations have recently held, and plan to hold, a series of ministerial-level talks.
The ROk's Defense Minister Han Min-koo is scheduled to hold the first bilateral talks in about four years with his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, the regional security talks set to be held in Singapore from Friday to Sunday.
It would mark the first defense ministers' meeting between Seoul and Tokyo since the Park administration took office in early 2013.
Chief negotiators of the ROK, Japan and the United States, who represent their respective countries in the six-party talks to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, kicked off the two-day trilateral meeting in Seoul Tuesday.
Talks between finance ministers of the ROK and Japan were held in Tokyo on Saturday for the first time in two and a half years, and dialogue between trade ministers was held last weekend first in two years. Tourism ministers of the two nations also met last month.
The spokesman said that the ROK's government has sternly addressed the historical issues with Japan, but he noted that Seoul has continued to cooperate with Tokyo in areas of mutual interest such as economy, culture and personnel exchanges as well as strategic affairs including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear program.
Noh added that the ROK is pushing various projects to expand cultural and personnel exchanges as this year marks the 50th anniversary of normalized diplomatic ties between the two countries.