South Korean foreign minister Chung Eui-yong met on Wednesday with his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi for the first time since taking office, as Seoul-Tokyo ties remain strained over historical issues and other matters.
The meeting was held in London right after a trilateral meeting with the U.S. on the sidelines of a G7 ministerial meeting.
During the meeting, Chung delivered Seoul's opposition to Japan's plan to discharge radioactive water from Fukushima into the ocean, saying there are "deep concerns" over Tokyo announcing the plan without "enough consultations" with its neighbors.
The two also talked about the thorny historical issues of compensating Korean victims of Japan's wartime sexual enslavement and forced labor, on which they could not narrow their differences.
"It was the first in-person high-level meeting between South Korea and Japan since Japanese Prime Minister Suga took office. However, the two sides ended up only reaffirming their own stances. Japan made clear that bilateral talks will not happen unless historical issues are resolved."
Regarding North Korea issues, Seoul and Tokyo agreed to work together, along with Washington, for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
They also pledged to continue communication and develop a relationship focused on the future.
During their trilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the U.S. State Secretary shared the Biden administration's new policy on North Korea, now that the review is complete.
The three ministers also agreed to keep working together for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, stressing again the importance of trilateral cooperation toward that goal.
In a statement, the U.S. State Department said they also agreed on the imperative for all UN members, including North Korea, to fully implement relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.
Meanwhile, during a weekly National Security Council meeting at the Blue House chaired by President Moon Jae-in's National Security Advisor Suh Hoon today, the members assessed the Biden administration's North Korea policy review - one that reflects consultations between Seoul and Washington. The NSC said the policy is realistic and practical and vowed to strengthen cooperation with related parties to swiftly resume dialogue between the two Koreas as well as between North Korea and the U.S.