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S. Korea calls Japan 'the closest neighbor' in 2021 diplomatic white paper: Analysis Updated: 2021-12-06 17:04:26 KST

Today, Seoul's foreign affairs ministry released its 2021 Diplomatic White Paper.
Among many issues, the South Korean government described Japan as "the closest neighboring country," which is the same as last year's description.
For more, we have Professor Kim Mi-kyoung at Pukyong National University.
Professor Kim, thanks for joining us.

In this year's diplomatic white paper, South Korea calls Japan "the closest neighboring country."
In 2019, it only called Tokyo just "neighboring country" and then changed the description.
What do you read from that?

The white paper says Seoul has been working to manage the South Korea-Japan bilateral relationship in a stable way to resolve historical issues while seeking future-oriented cooperation.
What do you see in terms of improvement of ties?

The U.S. apparently does not want to see relations between Seoul and Tokyo become aggravated further.
It wants to bolster trilateral cooperation between Seoul, Washington and Tokyo on China and other issues.
What would be South Korea's diplomatic strategy between the U.S. and Japan?

And today, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reiterated in his parliamentary speech that he will urge South Korea to take (quote)"proper measures" to address diplomatic conflicts over history.
What do you make of that?

As for North Korea, Kishida says he is willing to sit down for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to resolve the issues of the regime's abduction of Japanese citizens and its nuclear and missile programs.
What are prospects for North Korea-Japan talks?

Professor Kim Mi-kyoung at Pukyong National University. Thank you for your insights.
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