The whole of 2012 (along with the last administration) saw Japan bickering with South Korea, using backdoor tactics like un-favoring K-Pop artists and actors, in retribution to the disputed islands and comfort women issue. However ever since Shinzo Abe’s election, efforts to renew amicable ties have been ongoing in 2013. We recently saw an envoy being dispatched by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to meet with South Korean President-elect Park Geun-Hye in order to begin healing relations between the two countries.
The next step is the first meeting between high-level diplomats from South Korea and Japan. The group meets in Tokyo this week to discuss bilateral issues and trash out problems in a more organic way. This is the first of its kind meeting between the diplomats, ever since the conservative Abe-administration came to power. The one-day Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue meeting will be held tomorrow, Thursday 10th January.
South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Ahn Ho-young will lead the meeting and the Japanese counterpart is Chikao Kawai. President-elect Park Geun-Hye will take office next month, so these preliminary meeting before the official stature will be of significance. The two teams hope to engage in a strategic dialogue and ‘exchange views on how the new governments in the two nations work together to promote bilateral ties.’ Interestingly, President-elect Park Geun-Hye is of the opinion that the commencement of the new governments in South Korea and Japan will mark a “good starting point” in bilateral ties. Let us see how good this opinion holds.