Japan-Republic of Korea Foreign Ministers' Meeting (Overview)
February 11, 2009
During his visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK), Minister for Foreign Affairs Hirofumi Nakasone held a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myung-hwan of the Republic of Korea for approximately one hour and ten minutes from 10:00 a.m. on February 11. An overview of the results of the meeting is provided below.
1. Japan-ROK relations
The two ministers confirmed that Japan-ROK relations were developing into a future-oriented "mature partnership." They also confirmed that through the Prime Minister's recent visit to the ROK, "shuttle summit diplomacy" had become firmly established. Both ministers agreed that President Lee Myung-bak would visit Japan at an appropriate time this year.
(2) Peoples' exchanges
The two ministers agreed to launch the third round of the Japan-Korea Cultural Exchange Council, for experts to propose measures to further enhance people-to-people exchanges. They also agreed to convene a Japan-ROK Exchanges Festival both in Japan and the ROK around the same time in September of this year. Minister Nakasone proposed to receive 1,000 Korean students in Japan for ten years under the second round of the Japan-ROK joint project to provide university students in natural sciences and engineering departments with overseas study opportunities, the same number as was set under the first round of the project. Minister Yu expressed his basic agreement and stated that he would consider the proposal in a forward-looking manner with relevant ministries and agencies.
The two ministers regarded highly the convening of working-level consultations to preserve Beautiful and Abundant Sea, and agreed to continue to cooperate to resolve the issue of polyethylene tanks washing ashore along the coast of the Sea of Japan. Minister Nakasone indicated the necessity for Japan and the ROK to cooperate in managing resources in the provisional waters stipulated under the Japan-ROK Fisheries Agreement. To this, Minister Yu stated that he would closely consult with Japan while maintaining an interest in the issue.
The two ministers confirmed to hold the Tenth Round of Negotiations between Japan and the ROK on the Delimitation of the Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) and the Negotiations on the Provisional Framework concerning Cooperation in Marine Scientific Research on March 9.
(4) Japan-ROK economic partnership agreement (EPA)
The two ministers agreed to accelerate consideration of the resumption of negotiations on a Japan-ROK economic partnership agreement (EPA), by upgrading working-level consultations to be held at deputy director-general level.
2. North Korean issues
Minister Nakasone stated that realization of peace and stability of Northeast Asia would require a comprehensive resolution of nuclear, missile, and human rights issues including abduction issue. Both ministers reconfirmed the importance of close cooperation between Japan and the ROK and among Japan, the ROK, and the US in denuclearizing North Korea through the Six-Party Talks.
Minister Nakasone explained the current status of Japan-North Korea relations and extended appreciation for the ROK's support and cooperation concerning the abduction issue. In response, Minister Yu expressed his understanding for the Japanese people's interest in and anxieties over the abduction issue and stated that the ROK would continue providing as much support as possible for the resolution of the issue.
3. Cooperation in the international community
(1) Joint Research Project on a New Era of Japan-ROK Relations
The two ministers confirmed to hold an inauguration meeting of the Joint Research Project on a New Era of Japan-ROK Relations on February 23 in Tokyo.
(2) Cooperation in the area of development
The two ministers agreed to commence Japan-ROK bilateral cooperation for assistance to Afghanistan with the dispatch of Japanese and Korean experts to a vocational training center in Kabul and joint support for a soybeans cultivation project of a non-government organization. They also agreed to continue considering the possibility of further cooperation. In addition, the ministers welcomed the advancement of Japan-ROK cooperation for assistance to Cambodia in the area of agriculture.
(3) Issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia
The two ministers shared the recognition of the gravity of the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia and agreed to consider the possibility for Japan and the ROK to cooperate in addressing the issue.
(4) Senior Official-Level Meeting on Multilateral Issues including those on the United Nations and other international organizations
The two ministers agreed to hold the first Senior Official-Level Meeting on Multilateral Issues including those on the United Nations and other international organizations either in March or April of this year.
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