Hours before the summit was to begin, South Korean Commerce Minister Lee Chang-yang said Japan had agreed to lift export controls on South Korea following talks this week, and that South Korea would withdraw its complaint to the World Trade Organization once the restrictions are removed.
Japan and South Korea have long had disputes over the Japanese colonization of the Korean peninsula between 1910 and 1945 and atrocities during World War II, which included the forced prostitution of «comfort women» for Japanese soldiers and disputes. territories over a group of islands. Ties hit an all time low when the South Korean Supreme Court ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation to Korean victims or bereaved family members in 2018, and Japan imposed trade sanctions on South Korea soon after.
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Japan acknowledged South Korea’s improved export controls during the talks and that as a result of Seoul’s decision to drop the WTO case, Japan decided to remove the export controls. restrictions against South Korea and restore the country to the state it was. had before July 2019.
Lee’s ministry said the countries will continue to discuss restoring each other to preferential trade status. The two countries also agreed to start regular talks on economic security, according to Kishida.
He summit it comes as a series of dramatic events that underscore what Kishida called a «harsh security environment.»
Washington will welcome better ties between Japan and South Korea as disputes over historical issues have undermined the US drive to strengthen its alliances in Asia. The three countries began joint anti-submarine warfare exercises on Thursday, along with Canada and India.
The launch of a North Korean missile early Thursday, just before Yoon left for Tokyo, could add to the momentum for him and Kishida to move their countries closer diplomatically. The intercontinental ballistic missile was launched on a steep trajectory to avoid the territory of other countries and landed in open water off the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Most likely, he intended to send a message about both the summit and the joint military exercises.
China’s dispute with Japan over small islands in the East China Sea also escalated on Thursday, as both sides accused each other of violating their maritime territory. The summit follows a string of Chinese diplomatic successes in regions traditionally seen as most influenced by the US. Honduras announced on Wednesday that it would end diplomatic recognition of Taiwan in favor of China, marking progress in Beijing’s efforts to isolate Taiwan. the autonomously governed island, while last week Saudi Arabia and Iran announced a surprise deal to renew Chinese-brokered diplomatic ties.
Kishida and Yoon will have dinner and informal talks after the summit, according to Kishida’s office. Media reports said Kishida will host a two-part dinner: «sukiyaki» beef stew at one restaurant, then «omu-rice» or omelet-topped rice, reportedly Yoon’s favorite dish, at another.