News / Asia

S. Korea, Japan Renew Cooperation Pledges Regarding North Korea

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (R) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda before their meeting at Blue House in Seoul, South Korea October 19, 2011.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (R) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda before their meeting at Blue House in Seoul, South Korea October 19, 2011.

The leaders of the Japanese and South Korean governments are vowing cooperation on North Korea's illegal nuclear weapons program and other matters involving the communist state.  Japan's prime minister is on his first visit to Seoul since taking office early last month.

Japan and South Korea say they are looking to forge a closer relationship, especially in view of common challenges from North Korea.

In Seoul Wednesday, visiting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak pledged to work together to try to end North Korea's nuclear development.

They also agreed to help each other fully ascertain the fate of their citizens believed to have been abducted by North Korean agents.  Scores of Japanese and hundreds of South Koreans are thought to have been kidnapped to provide language and cultural training to Pyongyang's spies.

Although neighbors and sharing military alliances with the United States, the direct relationship between Tokyo and Seoul remains delicate because of Japan's brutal occupation of the Korean peninsula in the early 20th century.

During his meeting with Prime Minister Noda, the South Korean president said close cooperation is vital.

Lee notes the regional security and diplomatic ties between Seoul and Tokyo and says they need to continue into the future.

However, the South Korean president cautions history should not be forgotten and Japan has to do more to resolve the past.

At a joint news conference, Noda pledged to improve relations.  But there was no repetition of an apology for Japan's colonial rule, as was uttered by his immediate predecessor, Naoto Kan.

The Japanese prime minister says the difficult problems the two countries face from time to time are regrettable, but, overall in the medium to long term, a cooperative relationship is in place.  With the South Korean president, Noda says he would like to keep endeavoring to strengthen the relationship.

Noda did make symbolic gestures to repair old wounds during his 18-hour trip.  He flew to Seoul with five out of the 1,205 volumes of a treasured series of ancient Korean royal records taken from the peninsula during its occupation by Japan.  Officials here say the Japanese leader promised to eventually return the rest of the books.  Noda also placed a wreath at a monument to honor South Korea's war dead.

Japanese officials say the territorial dispute about an island controlled by South Korea for decades but claimed by Japan was not raised in Wednesday's talks.  Also not discussed was the issue of compensation for Korean women who say they were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese Imperial Army forces before the end of World War II.

The two countries did agree to resume negotiations on a free-trade agreement and to bolster currency swaps.

The trade talks began eight years ago, but have stalled because of disagreements about agriculture and fish.

The Bank of Korea says the the won-yen swap line will be boosted by three billion dollars to a total of $30 billion, while a new $30 billion U.S. dollar-local currency arrangement will also be opened. This is meant to try to ensure regional financial stability amid concerns about the global economy.

The news drove the South Korean won to a one-month high against the dollar.

However, reports quoting a South Korean government official say Seoul rejected Tokyo's request for an open swap line.

That apparently was seen as an unnecessary step, because South Korea has never utilized the won-yen swap and has ample dollar reserves. But the fund would allow South Korea, during a monetary crisis, to swap its currency for Japanese yen, one of the three global currencies.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid