Japan unilaterally called off the agreed-upon talks between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga during the G7 Summit, blaming Seoul for the regular military exercise it's holding this week in defense of the Dokdo islets.
Sources say the two countries had agreed before at the working level to hold a "pull-aside" meeting in Cornwall.
Japan's complaint is nothing new.
It often claims falsely that Dokdo is Japanese territory, and the defense exercises are held twice every year.
But it's unusual and considered senseless to cancel a discussion planned between the leaders of the two countries at such a high-profile venue.
"Suga seems to be trying to maintain his domestic approval ratings, which have been falling because of his mismanagement of the pandemic, by refusing to get along with South Korea and turning his back on Seoul."
That lines up with what Suga said himself to reporters that a summit with President Moon is off the table until the issue of Dokdo is in his words "resolved."
Seoul has tried to set up the two leaders' first in-person meeting to settle the long-simmering issues of Japan's system of wartime forced labor and sexual slavery.
Rounding up his Cornwall trip in a social media post Sunday, Moon called the brief exchange of greetings with Suga a "precious occassion which may serve as a new beginning in terms of South Korea-Japan relations."
But he further expressed regret that the encounter with Suga did not lead to talks.
Meanwhile in Cornwall, the G7's joint communique urged North Korea to return to dialogue for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
And welcoming the Biden administration's new North Korea policy, the G7 endorsed Washington's willingness to continue trying to engage with the regime.
The leaders also called for all states to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions and sanctions, and said the North should respect human rights and immediately resolve the issue of the Japanese nationals it abducted in the 1970s and 80s.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.