Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Japan, S.Korea agree to mend ties

Senior diplomats from Japan and South Korea have agreed to try to repair strained relations between their countries.

Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki and South Korea's Ambassador to Japan, Lee Byung-kee, held talks in Tokyo for about half an hour on Monday afternoon.

Lee told Saiki that South Koreans have negative feelings toward Japan because of the country's leaders portray historical events.

He said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine at the end of last year made the situation worse. Wartime Japanese leaders are enshrined at Yasukuni.

The ambassador said South Korea and Japan should be partners who work together to bring about regional peace and prosperity. He said the leaders of both governments should work hard to improve relations.

Saiki said South Korea is an important neighbor that shares Japan's basic values and interests. He said the Japanese government will communicate with South Korea in order to make the situation better.

The meeting follows US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Seoul last week. Kerry urged South Korean leaders to improve relations with Japan so that they can deal more effectively with threats from North Korea.