South Korea laments “leak” of consultations over Moon’s visit to Japan

South Korean official expressed regret over “unilateral leak” to the media of information on the content of bilateral consultations on President Moon Jae In’s possible visit to Japan and talks with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga later this month when the Tokyo Olympics begin, calling on the Japanese side to act “cautiously”.

The Foreign Ministry official admitted on Sunday that Moon was planning to travel to Tokyo to attend the Olympics opening ceremony on July 23 and hold summit talks with Suga on the sidelines, after Japanese media reported. reported in recent days these possibilities.

The combined photo shows Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (left) and South Korean President Moon Jae In. (Kyodo)

Kyodo News, citing a source in the prime minister’s office, reported that the proposed talks could be limited to around 15 minutes – much shorter than the roughly hour expected by the South Korean side.

The Nikkei newspaper reported that the Japanese government appears ready to “cut short” the talks if South Korea does not show signs of concrete action on the compensation claims in its courts arising from the Japanese colonial rule of 1910-1945 on the Korean Peninsula. Japan asserts that all compensation issues were settled under a 1965 bilateral agreement.

Claiming that the contents of bilateral consultations on the possible Moon visit and summit talks with Suga have been “unilaterally disclosed to the mass media from the Japanese point of view,” the South Korean official said the circumstances “render difficult the maintenance of government to -government consultations. “

While Seoul has called for full-fledged summit talks between the two leaders during a Moon visit to Japan, Tokyo remains reluctant to pursue the idea.

The Japanese and South Korean leaders have not held summit talks since Suga’s predecessor Shinzo Abe and Moon met in China in December 2019. Suga, who replaced Abe in September, simply traded greetings with Moon at a Group of Seven summit in Britain last month.

Meanwhile, South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo, in an online report on Sunday, quoted a senior presidential office official as saying that Moon would consider meeting Suga at the Olympics “only if there is a sincere discussion about at least one of the three outstanding issues to be resolved with Japan. “

All three issues are historical concerning former “comfort women” forced to work in wartime Japanese military brothels and wartime laborers, Japan’s tightened controls on materials exported to South Korea, and a planned discharge of treated water containing tritium into the sea by cripples. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, according to the report.

Associated coverage:

Moon could travel to Tokyo for Olympics opening, Minister suggests

Prime Minister Suga supports Japan’s apology for wartime aggression, comforts women

Japan in talks for South Korean president to attend Olympic ceremonies

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