71.2 F
Los Angeles
Sunday, July 21, 2024

Korea, Japan vow to counter North’s threats in revived strategic dialogue

Must read

- Advertisement -

From right, Chang Ho-jin, first vice foreign minister, and Masataka Okano, Japan’s vice foreign minister, meet in Seoul on Thursday. [MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS]
From right, Chang Ho-jin, first vice foreign minister, and Masataka Okano, Japan’s vice foreign minister, meet in Seoul on Thursday. [MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS]

Korea and Japan vowed to work closely on countering threats from North Korea in their first vice foreign ministerial strategic dialogue in nearly a decade on Thursday.

The meeting in Seoul coincided with Japan’s release of treated radioactive water from its ruined Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea for the second time this year.

“The two vice ministers exchanged opinions on issues on North Korea, including recent trends between Russia and North Korea,” said Korea’s Foreign Ministry in a statement following the meeting between Chang Ho-jin, South Korea’s first vice foreign minister, and Masataka Okano, Japan’s vice foreign minister.

In condemning the North’s “continued nuclear and missile provocations and threats,” the two agreed that their countries, with the United States, should lead the international community’s “firm and united response” to North Korea, including through a coordinated response at the UN Security Council. Both Korea and Japan will be nonpermanent members of the council next year.

The duo also agreed that trilateral cooperation with China should be revitalized. The three countries held their high-ranking officials’ meeting in Seoul last month and are scheduled to hold a foreign ministerial meeting in November in Busan.

The vice foreign ministers of Japan and Korea also met with Foreign Minister Park Jin on Thursday.

The vice ministerial strategic dialogue between Seoul and Tokyo, first held in 2005, was stalled after the 13th meeting in October 2014 over diplomatic spats, including disagreements on issues such as compensation for Korean victims of Japanese wartime forced labor and sexual slavery.

Bilateral ties improved significantly in March this year, when President Yoon Suk Yeol visited Japan to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, following favorable gestures from the Yoon administration, such as proposing a Korea-funded compensation plan for Korean victims of Japanese wartime forced labor.

The leaders agreed to resume dialogue on several levels, including the vice foreign ministerial meeting.

In addition to Japan, Korea holds such vice ministerial dialogues with the United States, China, Russia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the European Union to discuss not only issues of bilateral importance but of regional and global consequences.

The vice ministerial meeting between Korea and Japan was held on the same day that Japan began to release its second batch of treated radioactive water from the ruined Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Tokyo was set to release some 7,800 tons of water into the sea through Oct. 23, releasing some 460 tons per day.

The first batch of the treated water, of nearly 7,800 tons, was released from Aug. 24 to Sept. 11.

Korea said it was monitoring the release and that it had found the levels of tritium in the waters to be within the safety standards.

“We will do our best to ensure that public health and safety are not affected,” Park Gu-yeon, first vice minister of government policy coordination, told reporters on Thursday.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]