S. Korean FM attaches meaning to continued dialogue with Japan despite little progress

BEIJING/SEOUL-- South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Thursday that this week's meeting with her Japanese counterpart was meaningful in terms of continuing dialogue to address a row over wartime history and trade, even though little progress was made.

"I am still heavy-hearted when it comes to the (efforts for) the resolution of the issues between the two countries, but meaning lies in the fact that (the two countries) have continued the line of dialogue and communication," she said in a meeting with reporters, referring to her meeting Wednesday with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono in Beijing.

At Wednesday's talks, Kang and Kono failed to find a solution to defuse tensions between their countries that were caused by Tokyo's recent export control measures, including this month's decision to remove South Korea from a list of favored trade partners.

Seoul sees the export curbs as political retaliation for last year's Supreme Court rulings that ordered Japanese firms to provide compensation for South Korean victims of forced labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

Commenting on the outcome of the trilateral foreign ministers' meeting, she said that the top diplomats agreed to regularize and deepen three-way cooperation.

"(The ministers) shared the understanding that the three-way cooperation system is a window for communication for the improvement of bilateral relations, peace and stability," Kang said.

The three-way meeting of the top diplomats was launched in 2007 to promote tripartite cooperation in various areas, including regional security and business.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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