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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.