Visit by Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi to the Republic of Korea (ROK)
Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi visited the Republic of Korea (ROK) from May 29 (Saturday) to May 30 (Sunday). In addition to holding the Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers' Meeting with her counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-Moon of the ROK, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi paid a courtesy call on President Roh Moo Hyun. The summary of the meetings is as follows.
I. Japan- ROK Foreign Ministers' Meeting
1. Japan- ROK Relations
(1) Foreign Minister Ban proposed for the two governments to make joint efforts in carrying out preparations for (1) assistance for increased exchanges among parliamentary members of the two countries, (2) the establishment of a forum for policy dialogue to be carried out with participation from both the public and private sectors, (3) increased exchanges between the leaders of the two countries, and (4) the "Year 2005 of Friendship between Japan-ROK" scheduled for next year. (Foreign Minister Kawaguchi agreed to this proposal.)
(2) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated that Japan would seek to conclude a high-quality, mutually beneficial free trade agreement (FTA) between Japan and the ROK. Concurrently, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi requested the ROK's continued support concerning the International Thermonuclear Energy Reactor (ITER) program, to which Foreign Minister Ban stated that the ROK would continue to support Japan.
(3) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi expressed her wish for Japan and the ROK to continue their close cooperation in order to prevent the territorial issue, in which they each hold differing stances, from growing into an obstacle for projects to enhance future-oriented relations between Japan and the ROK in addition to easing national sentiments.
2. Situation in North Korea (Visit by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to North Korea)
(1) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi reported on the results from the visit by Prime Minister Koizumi to North Korea while noting the following points.
(a) Both Japan and North Korea reconfirmed that they would sincerely implement the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration and work towards normalization of their relations. The visit to North Korea by Prime Minister Koizumi this time marks a significant step forward since the stability of the Korean Peninsula is beneficial not only to the two countries but would lead to the peace and stability of the entire region and of the world.
(b) Abduction issue: The assistance provided by the ROK and the international community has contributed to the degree of progress that has been seen on this issue and Foreign Minister Kawaguchi expressed her gratitude to the ROK for their assistance thus far.
(c) Nuclear issue: Although no real progress has been seen on the dismantlement of nuclear weapons, North Korea has announced its intention to participate in the Six-Party Talks. In light of the comments by Chairman Kim Jong-Il of the National Defense Commission of North Korea that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the final goal; the aim for a peaceful resolution through utilization of the Six-Party Talks; and that freezing of nuclear programs would be the initial step towards denuclearization and would be accompanied by verification, Japan intends to ensure that the results of the visit by Prime Minister Koizumi to North Korea lead to advancement at the Six-Party Talks. In this process, Japan would like to further enhance its cooperation with the US and the ROK.
(2) Foreign Minister Ban explained the results of the recent North and South Korea General-level Military Talks while making note on the following points.
(a) Foreign Minister Ban highly evaluated the visit by Prime Minister Koizumi to North Korea as adding momentum to the improvement of the Japan-North Korea relations, with both countries reconfirming the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration. Foreign Minister Ban also welcomed the progress made in the abduction issue. Foreign Minister Ban indicated that he considered this progress a turning point for the resumption of normalization talks and that it would have a positive impact on the Six-Party Talks process.
(b) Foreign Minister Ban also noted that it was a meaningful achievement for Chairman Kim to acknowledge the effectiveness of the Six-Party Talks; make note of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; express his intention to freeze its nuclear development program through verification; and promise to maintain a moratorium on firing of missiles.
3. Situation in Iraq
Although the overall situation is severe, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi and Foreign Minister Ban concurred on the need for cooperation among all countries for the transfer of sovereignty on June 30 and for a new UN resolution.
4. Japan-China-ROK Cooperation
Foreign Minister Kawaguchi and Foreign Minister Ban agreed to make the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Foreign Ministers' Meeting scheduled to take place in Qingdao on June 22 a fruitful meeting from the perspective of further advancing cooperation in Northeast Asia.
5. Alliance with the US
Considering the importance of the alliance relations with the US for the security of both Japan and the ROK as well as for the entire Northeast Asian region, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi and Foreign Minister Ban agreed on the need for the Global Posture Review to contribute to the peace and stability of this region as well as the international community.
6. UN Reform
Foreign Minister Kawaguchi and Foreign Minister Ban concurred on the importance of UN reform, given the situation in Iraq and other issues, to streamline its structure to meet the needs of the international community.
II. President Roh Moo Hyun
1. Opening Statement
(1) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi congratulated President Roh on the victory of the ruling Uri Party at the general election in April and President Roh reassuming his presidency. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi also conveyed a message from Prime Minister Koizumi concerning his wish to continue cooperation with President Roh in keeping with the results from his visit to North Korea.
(2) President Roh commented that the visit by Prime Minister Koizumi this time had proved an excellent judgment and that such efforts by Japan would greatly contribute to the advancement of the Six-Party Talks and lead to the creation of the foundation of peace and prosperity of Northeast Asia. President Roh further expressed his particular respect for the decision made by Prime Minister Koizumi, whose visit to North Korea this time had opened a way for dialogue.
2. Japan-ROK Relations
(1) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated her intention to raise the motivation of the people towards a successful "Year 2005 of Friendship between Japan-ROK." Foreign Minister Kawaguchi also requested efforts by President Roh towards the conclusion of the FTA between Japan and the ROK and stated her expectation that cooperation on ITER would be strengthened.
(2) President Roh in response indicated his intention to cooperate actively in the "Year 2005 of Friendship between Japan-ROK" and in the areas of the FTA and ITER program and that he expected to see further improvement in the peace and stability of Northeast Asia through such cooperation. As such, the ROK intends to make efforts to ensure that there is no detraction in mutual trust between Japan and the ROK.
3. Situation in North Korea (Visit by Prime Minister Koizumi to North Korea)
As was the case in the Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi elaborated on the results of the visit by Prime Minister Koizumi to North Korea, to which President Roh responded as follows.
(1) President Roh expects further positive results with regard to the abduction issue. President Roh then stated that the ROK would call on North Korea to work for the advancement of Japan-North Korea relations.
(2) President Roh also highly regarded the constructive comments gained from Chairman Kim on the nuclear and missile issues of North Korea during Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to North Korea, and that the visit, coming at a time when changes towards further opening in North Korea have recently been witnessed, had a stronger affirmative meaning.
(3) Coordination among Japan, the US and the ROK continues to be important. As such, the ROK will continue its cooperation with both Japan and the US.
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