Park receives letter from Abe

October 8, 2015
Park and Abe

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, left, sent a letter to Korean President Park Geun-hye Thursday. The letter was delivered by Natsuo Yamaguchi, the leader of Japan’s New Komeito Party. (Korea Times file)

By Jun Ji-hye

President Park Geun-hye received a letter from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Thursday, in which he called for maintaining exchanges and cooperation between the two countries.

The letter was delivered by Natsuo Yamaguchi, the leader of Japan’s New Komeito Party, which has partnered with Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party to form a ruling coalition. He paid a courtesy call on Park during his visit to Korea. He arrived on Wednesday and will leave Friday.

After his courtesy call, Yamaguchi told reporters, “Prime Minister Abe said the two countries maintained exchanges and cooperation well after the normalization of Seoul-Tokyo relations in 1965. He also said he expects the two countries will create a future together.”

In response, Park was quoted as saying to Yamaguchi that she is looking forward to meeting with Abe in the trilateral summit between Korea, China and Japan, expected to be held in late October or early November.

“I told President Park that Korea and Japan should look at the trilateral summit as an opportunity to expand bilateral dialogue,” he said. “Then, President Park said she believes Japan will make an effort for that.”

Yamaguchi added that Park expressed a strong will to resolve the issue of former Korean sex slaves used by Japanese soldiers during the World War II as “the issue is related to the human rights of women.”

“I believe the meeting with Park was fruitful,” he said.

In early September, President Park and her Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed to hold a trilateral meeting with Abe. Working-level talks between the three countries to work out the details of the meeting are now underway.

Japan has shown a favorable response to the proposal and expressed hope that a Seoul-Tokyo bilateral summit will also be achieved along with the trilateral meeting.

Park has said that Japan should first show a responsible attitude regarding the sex slaves issue before a Seoul-Tokyo summit can take place.