In what may be a historic moment for two East Asian nations, reports are saying that Japan, South Korea and the United States will be holding a trilateral summit at The Hague next week on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit. This may very well be the first meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, amidst the tensions between their countries the past two years.
The two leaders and US President Barack Obama are expected to attend the summit in the Netherlands, as important issues, like Russia’s intervention in Crimea, will be discussed on the side. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida confirmed Abe’s attendance, saying that there are “issues” that need to be addressed between Japan and South Korea. While he did not give any more details on the trilateral meet, he said he hopes that Seoul will accept their proposal, marking a significant movement towards at least discussing between their leaders the issues that have been damaging their diplomatic relations the past months.
While the South Korean President had expressed in the past that she was unwilling to meet with Abe unless Japan acknowledges that they are in the wrong about historical issues, there has been a thawing of icy relations the past week. Crucial to that is Abe’s reassurance that Japan is standing by the Kono statement of 1993 and the Murayama statement of 1995, both of which are apologies for their past colonial and World War II atrocities, including the much-discussed comfort women issue. Park was pleased with Abe’s statement, saying she hoped it will lead to better relations between their countries.
[ via Yonhap News ]