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

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora