Seoul, Tokyo to Hold Strategic Dialogue
(MENAFN- Qatar News Agency) South Korea and Japan plan to hold a strategic dialogue next week to discuss ways to mend their ties after Japan's territorial claims over South Korea's Dokdo islets and other history disputes drove a wedge between the countries, sources said Sunday. Japan's Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki may fly to Seoul to hold the strategic dialogue with his counterpart, South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kyou-hyun, according to South Korea's (Yonhap) News Agency. "It is likely that it will be held in the middle of next week although the schedule is subject to change," one of the sources said. The planned strategic dialogue, aimed at discussing long-term security and bilateral issues, is the first to be held between Seoul and Tokyo since the February inauguration of South Korea's President Park Geun-hye. The last one was held in early January under the former administration of President Lee Myung-bak, whose unexpected visit last year to Dokdo, South Korea's easternmost islets claimed by Japan, sharply raised diplomatic tension with the neighboring country. The meeting also comes at a time when Seoul-Tokyo relations have remained unusually icy for over a year as Japan's Shinzo Abe government renewed the country's territorial claims to the islets and made nationalistic remarks over the country's past imperialism. The two countries were to hold a meeting between their foreign ministers in April, but Seoul canceled it after Japan's Cabinet members visited the controversial Yasukuni shrine, honoring war criminals from Japan's imperialistic era. In the upcoming meeting, the officials are expected to discuss ways to mend their strained ties as well as regional security issues that include the aftereffects of North Korea's recent purge of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's once-powerful uncle Jang Song-thaek. Seoul also plans to focus on Japan's on-going moves to strengthen its military capabilities, which should not cause security concerns on the Korea Peninsula, said the officials.
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