Japan's Abe says arranging summit with S. Korea's Moon amid strained ties

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-03 20:55:01|Editor: xuxin
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TOKYO, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday said he is arranging to hold formal talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in later this month.

The talks, if they come to fruition, will mark the first such talks in more than a year between the two leaders, owing to strained bilateral ties between the two countries.

The summit is expected to take place towards the end of December, with senior trade officials from Tokyo and Seoul also set to discuss Japan's tightened export controls during the third week of December in Tokyo.

The possible high-level talks come as both sides remain at odds over a wartime labor dispute and trade row, but could be looking towards overcoming the impasse or preventing a worsening in ties.

Tokyo and Seoul have been at odds since October last year when South Korea's top court ordered a Japanese firm to pay compensation for the forced labor of South Koreans during Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Japan maintains the matter was settled by a 1965 pact, which saw Tokyo pay Seoul some 500 million U.S. dollars under the banner of "economic cooperation."

The dispute, however, continued and spread to trade and security issues, with both sides tightening export restrictions and removing each other from their preferential lists of trade partners.

The spat also spilled over into security areas, with Seoul cancelling the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), before deciding to extend the pact with Japan just hours before the deal was due to expire.