US President Joe Biden has extended an invitation for Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-Yeol to participate in formal three-way talks in Washington, as per a senior US administration official. The leaders had a brief meeting on the sidelines of the G7 summit where Japan had invited South Korea to participate, marking an end to the long-freezing relations between these neighbors.
Japan and South Korea are key allies of the US that have been at odds due to Japan’s colonial rule of Korea from 1910 to 1945. The tension includes issues related to sexual slavery and forced labor.
However, President Yoon Suk Yeol and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have taken active measures to resolve the issues and restore their diplomatic relations since Seoul announced a plan to compensate those affected by wartime forced labor without Tokyo’s involvement. The White House praised the efforts of the pair to improve their bilateral ties.
Biden, Kishida, and Yoon Suk-Yeol discussed the need for “new coordination” over North Korea’s “illicit nuclear and missile threats,” according to a White House statement. The timing for the planned meeting in Washington is yet to be decided, and no further details are available as of now.
Earlier, Yoon Suk-Yeol and Kishida made a landmark visit to the memorial dedicated to Koreans killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. This was the first time the leaders of these two countries have visited the memorial together, and only for the second time has a Japanese Prime Minister made such a visit.
At a bilateral meeting after the visit, Yoon Suk-Yeol called it a “courageous action by Prime Minister Kishida that paves the way for a peaceful future while expressing grief for the Korean victims of the atomic bombing.”