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Seoul, April 17 – South Korea and Japan held a joint meeting of senior diplomats and defence officials here on Monday, the first such talks since March 2018, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said, amid signs of a slow thaw in bilateral ties.
The director-general-level policy consultation meeting came after South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida agreed last month to mend ties soured by historical disputes and step up security cooperation in the wake of North Korea’s escalating provocations, reports Yonhap news agency.
The so-called two-plus-two meeting brought together Seo Min-jung, director-general for Asia and Pacific affairs at the foreign ministry, and Woo Kyoung-suk, deputy director-general for international policy at the Defence Ministry, as well as their Japanese counterparts — Takehiro Funakoshi, director-general of Asian and Oceanian affairs, and Atsushi Ando, deputy director-general of the Defense Policy Bureau.
During the session, the two sides are expected to share their assessment of the security situation in Northeast Asia and on the Korean Peninsula, and their respective defence and security policies.
The two countries’ leaders agreed in a summit in Tokyo last month to resume various government dialogue channels that had been suspended amid strained ties due to historical disputes stemming from Japan’s colonization of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-45.
The joint consultation meeting was launched in 1998 after an agreement between the two countries’ Foreign Ministers a year earlier.