China, Japan Congratulate Park Geun-hye on Presidential VictoryUpdated: 2012-12-21 00:00:00 (KST)
In an attempt to mend frayed ties between the two countries
Japan's incoming Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Friday that he will send a special envoy to Seoul to meet with President-elect Park Geun-hye and will also dispatch a senior official from his Liberal Democratic Party to deliver a letter to Park.
[Interview : Shinzo Abe, Incoming Prime Minister
Liberal Democratic Party of Japan] "I requested that Fukushi Nukaga send my correspondence to Korea which states my desire to improve bilateral relations between Japan and Korea."
The official tasked with handing Park the letter is former finance minister Fukushiro Nukaga, a senior member of the Japan-South Korea parliamentarians' league, who has relationships with senior figures in Seoul.
Initial reports suggested Nukaga would leave on Friday evening, but it was later reported the visit would be put off until at least next week.
Incoming Prime Minister Abe, meanwhile, has put off his plans to elevate the nation's Takeshima Day ceremony to a government level event.
The Dokdo islets, called Takeshima in Japan, are claimed by Tokyo despite evidence proving that they are Korean territory.
The Japanese media is reporting that Abe canceled the event in an effort to improve Korea-Japan relations which have soured over several historical and geographical disputes.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said President Hu Jintao sent a congratulatory message to the new president-elect, while expressing his hope for a better relationship between Seoul and Pyongyang.
[Interview : Hua Chunying, Spokesperson
Chinese Foreign Ministry] "China supports the two Koreas improving their relations through continued dialogue, and ultimately achieving an independent, peaceful reunification."
When it comes to foreign policy and inter-Korean relations, the Chinese media have also echoed the anticipation for a more lenient stance from Park Geun-hye, compared to that of the Lee Myung-bak administration,. highlighting Park's pledges to provide humanitarian aid to North Korea and resuming inter-Korean dialogue.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.
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