Japan-Republic of Korea Foreign Ministers' Meeting
(Overview)

August 2003

1. Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) Foreign Ministers' Meeting

Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi, who was visiting the Republic of Korea, held Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers' Meeting with ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yoon Young Kwan in the evening of August 22. The two foreign ministers exchanged opinions on the issue of North Korea's nuclear development, focusing mainly on their responses toward the six-party talks. The following is an overview of the meeting.

(1) Discussions Toward the Six-Party Talks

The two foreign ministers shared the views on the following points:

(a) It was very meaningful to hold foreign ministers' meeting ahead of the upcoming six-party talks, and the contents of the consultations themselves were beneficial.

(b) Cooperation and coordination between Japan, the ROK, and the United States in the six-party talks are important.

(c) North Korea's nuclear development program absolutely cannot be permitted. Regarding North Korea's nuclear development program, North Korea must not be allowed to aggravate the situation. It will be important to convey these points clearly to the North Korean side at the six-party talks.

(d) Japan and the ROK will cooperate to settle this issue peacefully and diplomatically and to lead the six-party talks to success.

(2) Response to the Abduction Issue and Other Matters

(a) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi made the following statements:

(i) In the six-party talks, as well as the nuclear issue, Japan has concern over the abduction issue and the ballistic missile issue. In particular, Japan intends to raise the abduction issue at the six-party talks from the perspective of realizing the comprehensive solution of the issues.

(ii) Concrete discussions for a solution of the abduction issue will take place between officials of Japan and North Korea.

(b) In response, Foreign Minister Yoon showed understanding of Japan's position and at the same time stated that the ROK also intends to cooperate toward a solution of the abduction issue.

2. Dinner Hosted by Foreign Minister Yoon

At a dinner held after the Foreign Ministers' Meeting, the two ministers discussed such matters as ways to steadily develop the concrete cooperative relations mentioned in the Japan-Republic of Korea Summit Joint Statement issued on the occasion of the recent visit to Japan by ROK President Roh Moo Hyun.

(1) Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stated that the recent visit to Japan by President Roh had been a great success and that thanks to his consistent issuing of a future-oriented message, the importance of relations between Japan and the ROK, two very close neighbors, had been again reaffirmed.
  In response, Foreign Minister Yoon expressed the understanding that it is important to steadily develop the concrete cooperative relations mentioned in the Japan-Republic of Korea Summit Joint Statement and to show clearly that Japan and the ROK are building beneficial relations for the future of the peoples of the two countries.

(2) The two foreign ministers also discussed such issues as "Japan-Korea Festa 2005" and the Japan-ROK Joint Project for the Future.

(3) Regarding a free trade agreement (FTA) between Japan and the ROK, the two foreign ministers shared the view that the two sides should make efforts for the early commencement of negotiations on an FTA toward the next joint study meeting so that the momentum of the Joint Statement is not lost. Furthermore, regarding flights between Kimpo and Haneda airports, the two foreign ministers agreed to cooperate closely and explore practicable methods so as to realize such flights as soon as possible.


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