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South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Japan for the first summit in 12 years

On Thursday, March 16, South Korea and Japan's first summit in 12 years occurred in Tokyo, Japan. South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met to discuss both countries’ communication and defense and to end years of dispute. However, when there are security concerns for Japan and South Korea, North Korea fired an ICBM, a long-range ballistic missile, into the sea between South Korea and Japan. North Korea is threatening world peace, according to South Korean officials. Fumio Kishida said: “The regional peace and stability is the most important issue for relevant nations. We need to build closer cooperation with all allies and friendly nations.”


Nonetheless, during this summit, Kishida and Yoon moved forward to the reconciliation of both countries. They announced they would resume the “shuttle diplomacy” shutdown in December 2011. This means that both countries’ leaders would meet regularly. Kishida said: "From now on, I would like to open a new chapter in Japan-South Korea relations through frequent visits by both sides that are not tied down by formality.”


In a press conference following the meeting, both leaders were in complete agreement. They agreed on the need for their collaboration. Yoon said: “We actually share universal values, including democracy and also in terms of security and economic alliance. We pursue the common interests we are the closest ally in this regard.” North Korea’s menace and missile tests were a major topic of their talk since it’s the fourth intercontinental missile fired by North Korea. Yoon added: “I expect to keep communicating through various channels including the launch of a dialogue channel on economic security issues at the level of the National Security Council.”


Seoul and Tokyo would not end the possibility of talks with Pyongyang, according to Kishida. Furthermore, Japan's Prime Minister said: “We have also agreed on the importance of restarting high-level exchanges between Japan, Korea, and China as early as possible.” China’s Foreign Ministry reacted to the Japan and South Korea summit: “[China’s Foreign Ministry hopes] Japan-South Korea relations will develop in the direction of regional peace, stability, and prosperity.”


Less than two weeks ago, South Korea declared that South Korean forced laborers working for Japanese companies during WWII would be compensated. Yoon plays a strong role in improving Japanese and South Korean relations. 


Regarding the Japanese colonial rule, the South Korean President said: “Japan has expressed deep remorse and heartfelt apology regarding its past colonial rule through the position of its previous governments.” Yoon would stay in Japan until Friday, March 17.


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