Opening Statements by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea at the Joint Press Conference
March 22, 2002
(1) President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea
a) I would like to express a heartfelt welcome to the honorable Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan, on this occasion of his official visit to the Republic of Korea. This is the fourth time in five months that I have had occasion to talk with Prime Minister Koizumi. I believe that these multiple opportunities to engage in talks have made a great contribution to the development of Japan-Republic of Korea relations and in building trust. I also believe that we have further enhanced our mutual respect and trust.
b) Prime Minister Koizumi is currently advancing structural reforms across a broad spectrum with conviction and a vision for the future of Japan. It has been said that "reform is more difficult than revolution," and I would like to express my respect to Prime Minister Koizumi for advancing these very difficult reforms vigorously and actively. I would further like to express my respect to the people of Japan, who are fervently supporting the Prime Minister's reforms.
c) In our talks today, Prime Minister Koizumi and I engaged earnestly in an exchange of opinions on what Japan-Republic of Korea cooperation should be, including our co-hosting of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, how we can move forward in our policy towards North Korea, and cooperation in the international arena. We agreed that we would make all efforts to ensure that the World Cup, jointly hosted by Japan and the Republic of Korea, will be an unprecedented success. We are jointly hosting the World Cup and we must therefore endeavor together to make it a success. In doing this we must demonstrate to history and the world the new relations of friendship between Japan and the Republic of Korea. In order to make the World Cup a success, Prime Minister Koizumi has indicated to me that he intends to participate in the opening ceremony of the tournament on 31 May 2002 in Seoul, and I would be happy to attend the final match and the closing ceremony of the tournament that will be held in Yokohama on 30 June.
In addition, this is the Year of Japan-Republic of Korea National Exchange of which a variety of events will be held and we have agreed to endeavor to ensure that the friendship and goodwill that exist between the peoples of Japan and the Republic of Korea are further advanced.
d) Next, both Prime Minister Koizumi and I shared the view that the seven points that we agreed on in our summit talks in Shanghai last year are being smoothly implemented. The implementation of measures for the seven issues that we agreed on, including the textbook issue, the visit to Yasukuni Shrine, the conclusion of the investment agreement, visa waiver, and the issue of saury fishing, is of the utmost importance for the sake of improving relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea. I am most grateful to Prime Minister Koizumi for his constant emphasis on the importance of implementing the seven points that we agreed on.
e) In order to further deepen the future-oriented economic relations between our two countries, we will endeavor to see to it that the Investment Agreement we signed today is put into effect promptly and we have also agreed to establish a study group composed of representatives from industry, government and academia in order to consider a Japan-Republic of Korea free trade agreement (FTA).
f) Prime Minister Koizumi announced his active support for the Republic of Korea's engagement policy with North Korea. We agreed on the need to seek a resolution to the situation on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue. In addition, we also agreed on efforts towards peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, under cooperation among Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States of America. In this relation, Prime Minister Koizumi made clear to me that he would continue to persistently make efforts toward holding normalization talks with North Korea.
g) We agreed to continue to closely cooperate in the international community and actively participate in efforts to eradicate terrorism throughout the international community.
h) Japan-Republic of Korea relations are important for both our countries. For the Republic of Korea, Japan is our second largest trading partner and the Republic of Korea is the third largest trading partner for Japan. Human exchange is also deepening. Above all, we must make the World Cup a success. I sincerely hope that based on the New Japan-Republic of Korea Partnership towards the Twenty-first Century that was agreed in 1998, both countries can further develop their bilateral relationship and I sincerely call on Prime Minister Koizumi to provide the strong leadership to achieve this aim.
i) We all must learn lessons from the past. With these lessons in mind, we should step forward toward the future. I believe the summit talks today have established a foundation for that and that they will be remembered in history. I would once again like to offer my most heartfelt and warmest welcome to Prime Minister Koizumi.
(2) Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan
a) Allow me to begin by offering my most sincere gratitude for the warmth of the welcome I have been granted by President Kim Dae Jung and all the people of the Republic of Korea. Since October last year, I have had several occasions to meet with President Kim, including the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting in Shanghai, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) +3 (Japan, Republic of Korea, People's Republic of China) meeting in Brunei Darussalam. These prior occasions to meet have built a relationship of trust, but I had a chance to talk deeply with President Kim again this time and I was overwhelmingly impressed by the deep insight and acumen of President Kim, who has experienced so many difficult and challenging episodes in his life and this has left a strong impression on me. I think this meeting was one in which we were able to confirm that in this pivotal year for relations between our two countries, various activities including the co-hosting of the World Cup, will be undertaken that will steadily lead to the further development of the friendly relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea. I have read the memoirs of President Kim. The words "truth is stranger than fiction" are used in Japan, and President Kim's life has truly been an extraordinary one, filled with experiences that if written in the pages of a novel, would perhaps prompt the reader to think the story a work of fiction. This is President Kim's reality. I believe President Kim is a man who will be remembered in history and in talks with him today I could keenly feel his passion again for the importance of peace, nation-building efforts of the Republic of Korea, democratic systems, a market economy system and reunification of the Korean Peninsula.
b) I felt that today at this meeting I could confirm the great importance for the sake of mutual development and peace in cooperating closely with President Kim and the Republic of Korea side in the future in normalization talks with North Korea, in measures against terrorism under international cooperation, in the individual issues of Japan-Republic of Korea relations, and also in cooperation on the international stage. Of the various issues, the seven points pending from last year were enumerated, and the fact that these issues are steadily being advanced towards resolution as we agreed that they would be, is truly due to the efforts of both countries, and I would like to express my deep respect and gratitude to all those individuals and institutions involved. I would like to make this year the one in which Japan and the Republic of Korea, while squarely facing up to history, firmly open up a path toward a brighter and better future. In particular, this year will see the historic first time that a World Cup is co-hosted by two nations. I for my part am eager to attend the opening ceremony of the tournament in Seoul, and I welcome President Kim to the final match and closing ceremony in Yokohama. In addition, this year sees the achievement of various exchanges, and opportunities for exchange in various areas between the people of Japan and the Republic of Korea have been established. Efforts will be made to invigorate such exchange and at the same time, in joint historical research I expect that serious discussion and mutual understanding will be enhanced. I would like the joint research group to be established to be one that, while accepting our mutual differences, further recognizes the importance of cooperation in looking to the future. Today we have signed an Investment Agreement and I expect that this will represent a big step towards closer economic cooperation in the future.
c) Furthermore, although my visit to the Republic of Korea is a short one, with the intention of engaging in some Japan-Republic of Korea exchange myself, yesterday I visited the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts. There I observed as the head of the Center and Korean students, and Japanese students studying in Korea, and other young people learned about traditional performing arts and ancient music, and worked to ensure that these arts continue to develop in the future. In the area of culture, I expect that Japan-Republic of Korea exchange will further broaden in the future. Tomorrow I will visit Pusan and Kyonju, where I hope to personally experience some of the history and culture of the Republic of Korea.
d) Concerning policy toward North Korea cooperation with the Republic of Korea has been of the utmost importance. In an individual meeting with President Kim, we agreed that on this issue the trilateral cooperation among the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan is vital. Concerning North-South dialogue, Japan supports President Kim's engagement policy. I confirmed that President George W. Bush of the United States also recognized the importance of dialogue when I met the President in Tokyo. Today, in talks with President Kim, we mutually confirmed the need for us to again and again redouble our efforts to call on North Korea to understand that collaboration with the international community is important for their own development, as well as for world peace and stability, and the future reunification and peace on the Korean Peninsula. In the relations between Japan and North Korea there remain extremely difficult issues, such as the issue of the abduction of Japanese citizens, but the Government of Japan is resolved to tenaciously make every effort toward realizing normalization talks. With such a frank exchange of opinion that I have enjoyed today, I have deepened my relationship with President Kim, which is a most important thing. In addition, the meeting today has provided me with a source of reference that will be valuable for future negotiations with North Korea, and I will remember this meeting with President Kim on the occasion of future negotiations with North Korea, as it has made such a great and deep impression upon me. Furthermore, in terms of developing Japan's relations with North Korea, discussions, dialogue and peaceful yet persistent negotiations are of the utmost importance. This meeting was very fruitful because we could share the view that, Japan, together with the Republic of Korea should cope with normalization talks with North Korea for the sake of the future peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, in cooperation with the United States, and in coordination with the People's Republic of China, the Russian Federation and the world as a whole.
e) I would once again like to reaffirm that although I have now met with President Kim on a number of occasions, the creation of deeper relations of trust, and the development of friendship between our two countries is of great importance, indeed, for the Korean Peninsula as a whole is of great importance to the entire world. I would once again like to offer my most profound gratitude for the welcome I have received.
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