Summary of Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori's Visit to the Republic of Korea

May 29, 2000
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

1. Overall evaluation and major events

(1) Overall evaluation

  1. There was an agreement on mutual cooperation between Japan and the Republic of Korea for the success of the forthcoming diplomatic schedule, i.e., the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit and the Asia-Europe Meeting to be held in Seoul.
  2. Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and President Kim Dae Jung also exchanged views on policy toward North Korea, facing the forthcoming inter-Korea summit meeting in June and the present situation of Japan-North Korea normalization talks.
  3. In spite of the short time (he made a one day trip to Seoul), Prime Minister Mori established a personal relationship with President Kim. The two leaders had a highly fruitful interchange on relations between both countries.

(2) Major events

May 29 (Monday)

   Morning
Arrival of Prime Minister Mori in Seoul
Talks between Prime Minister Mori and President Kim
Joint press conference
   Noon
Luncheon hosted by President Kim
   Afternoon
Talks between Prime Minister Mori and acting Prime Minister Lee Handong
   Night
Arrival of Prime Minister Mori in Tokyo

2. Outline of the summit talks

(1) Opening remarks

President Kim extended his condolences over the death of former Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and announced his decision to attend the funeral services for the late prime minister.

  1. Relations between North and South Korea: President Kim expressed his hopes of having frank discussions in the forthcoming summit meeting with North Korea, and stated his wishes for the development of relations between Japan and North Korea. He also noted his expectations that the development of the Japan-North Korean relationship, enhanced by the development of the North-South Korean relationship, would make a great contribution to stability on the Korean Peninsula. He also stated his wishes for continued consultation on both bilateral basis (between Japan and the ROK) and trilateral basis (among Japan, the ROK, and the United States). Prime Minister Mori mentioned that issues such as North Korea's nuclear problem and missile development were of common concern to Japan, the ROK, and the United States.
  2. Relations between Japan and North Korea: Prime Minister Mori explained the situation surrounding the postponement of negotiations for normalization of relations between Japan and North Korea for the time being, and said that he would appreciate it if President Kim would convey to the North Korean leader Japan's strong wishes to proceed with the normalization of relations with North Korea on the occasion of their meeting. President Kim indicated his full understanding of the situation.

(2) Political affairs between Japan and the ROK

  1. The Kyushu-Okinawa Summit: Prime Minister Mori set forth Japan's views on the forthcoming Kyushu-Okinawa Summit of the Group of Eight (G8) countries. President Kim expressed his understanding and full support for Japan's intention to reflect Asian perspectives in the talks. He also stated his hopes that the G8 discussion would include topics such as the "digital divide" (gap in respect to information technology) between developing and developed countries and issues related to the start of the new round of talks in the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In addition, he voiced wishes that the G8 countries would make a statement that they support peaceful coexistence between North and South Korea based on the results of the inter-Korean summit.
  2. Asia-Europe Meeting: Regarding the Asia-Europe Meeting to be held in Seoul in October, President Kim expressed his expectations for close cooperation and support from Japan. In reply, Prime Minister Mori stated intentions to cooperate with the Meeting as far as possible.
  3. Visit by President Kim to Japan: Prime Minister Mori invited President Kim to come to Japan for a visit in a relaxed environment.
  4. Granting of local election voting rights to permanent Korean residents of Japan: President Kim expressed his desires for a prompt granting of the right to vote in elections on the local governmental level to permanent Korean residents of Japan. Prime Minister Mori replied that a bill for granting such rights entered deliberations in the National Diet last week and that there was a diversity of opinion on the issue. He added that the Liberal Democratic Party will further discuss this issue in the Diet.

(3) Economic relations between Japan and the ROK

  1. Investment agreement: Both sides agreed to continue their efforts toward the conclusion of a bilateral investment agreement before the end of 2000.
  2. Free trade agreement (FTA): President Kim stated his hopes for ongoing consultation culminating in the bearing of fruit at an early date. Prime Minister Mori indicated his desires for continued discussion on the subject based on the results of the joint private-sector studies.
  3. Trade imbalance: President Kim stated that, in response to the Korean deficit in its trade with Japan, it was necessary to expand the equilibrium of this trade. Prime Minister Mori replied that it was vital for both countries to take action on the issue in accordance with the Japan-ROK Economic Agenda 21 program.
  4. Flight service: President Kim asked Prime Minister Mori to work for a correction of the chronic shortage of flights between the two countries. Prime Minister Mori said that he wanted to have the matter discussed in-depth during the consultation between the aeronautical authorities the two countries stated for June.

(4) Bilateral exchang

  1. Exchange Year: President Kim expressed desires for an acceleration of exchange between the people of the ROK and Japan in order to deepen ties of goodwill with the approach of 2002, which is designated as the Japan-ROK people-to-people Exchange Year. Prime Minister Mori replied that, with President Kim's cooperation, he also wanted to step up promotional activities.
  2. Liberalization of Japanese culture in the ROK: President Kim indicated his intention to embark on the third phase of his policy for liberalization of Japanese culture in the ROK. Prime Minister Mori expressed his deep admiration for President Kim's decisiveness in this area.

3. Outline of the discussion with Prime Minister Lee

(1) Granting of local election voting rights to permanent Korean residents of Japan

Prime Minister Lee voiced his hopes that the issue would be settled before the end of the year. Prime Minister Mori said that he discussed the matter in his talks with President Kim and that it would presumably be taken up in the Diet after the general elections.

(2) Flight service

Prime Minister Lee requested efforts to bolster flight service between Japan and South Korea. Prime Minister Mori replied that he was completely in favor of an increase in travel between the two countries and that the issue was of considerable concern to him. He added that, although some difficult problems may be involved, he wanted to have the matter discussed during the talks between the air transportation authorities of the two countries in June.

(3) Cooperation between national cancer centers

Prime Minister Lee declared that he wanted to promote cooperation between the Japanese and South Korean national cancer research centers. Prime Minister Mori asserted that the area was of concern to all humankind, that he saw much value in Japanese and South Korean collaboration in such work.

(4) Ministerial talks

Prime Minister Lee asked for special consideration on the Japanese side to lead the ministerial conference between the two countries to success again this year. Prime Minister Mori answered that he wanted to coordinate arrangements with the Korean side on matters such as the site and detailed schedules through diplomatic channels.


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