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S. Korea-Japan foreign ministers hold talks on bilateral ties and N. Korea's nuclear issue Updated: 2018-04-12 04:13:59 KST

The foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan have reaffirmed their mutual goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula and agreed to develop peaceful and progressive Seoul-Tokyo ties.

"Amid the planned inter-Korean summit and U.S-North Korea talks, I hope to work with Minister Kono in heading towards our mutual goal of establishing a peaceful resolution to the North Korean issue and creating stability on the Korean peninsula."

"We respect South Korea's hard work up until now. I hope for close cooperation between the two countries in realizing the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and bringing peace and prosperity to the region."

The two sides also agreed that pressure and sanctions must remain on North Korea for now, but Minister Kang said it is important to keep the momentum for talks going, and asked for Japan's cooperation.
The two diplomats also said that it is vital for the two to actively communicate, including sharing details of the inter-Korean summit and the U.S.-Japan summit slated for next week.
Kono also asked Seoul to deliver to the regime, the Japanese government's hopes of solving the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by Pyongyang.
And while Kang said that Seoul understands the importance of such humanitarian issues, and that it has been and will continue to work on the issue, she cannot be sure over the specific agenda that will be brought to the table.

Also, as the two countries celebrate the 20 years since their joint declaration of "a new Korea-Japan partnership towards the 21st century," the diplomats shared ways to build a relationship that looks towards the future.
That declaration was signed in 1998 by the two countries' leaders at the time to further develop friendly and cooperative relations.
Kang and Kono agreed to establish a task force to boost cultural and human resources exchanges, work to settle the issue of fishing quotas in their respective countries' waters and hold managerial meetings for future partnerships.

While the controversial "comfort women" deal was briefly mentioned at the meeting, the two sides simply repeated their stances, which are that Seoul asks for the Japanese government's sincere apologies to the victims and that Japan hopes South Korea will carry out the 2015 deal.
Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.
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