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Abe, Roh agree in principle to meet

Sept 28,2006
President Roh Moo-hyun, in a telephone call yesterday from Shinzo Abe, Japan’s new prime minister, agreed that they should “meet at a proper time to exchange views on ways to advance bilateral ties.”
Mr. Roh’s spokesman, Yoon Tae-young, said plans for a meeting would be discussed in diplomatic channels.
The spokesman quoted Mr. Roh as saying, “Mutual trust and respect are the most significant things for the stable development of bilateral relations.” He added that Mr. Abe’s election as prime minister offered a new opportunity to promote peace in the region. The Japanese leader, Mr. Yoon continued, said he would work to develop friendly and cooperative arrangements.
The phone call and the agreement to meet came a day after the Foreign Ministry had steered reporters away from believing that a meeting was in the works. Officials there stressed Korean demands for Tokyo to face up to its imperial past and wartime atrocities and end what Seoul sees as a glorification of that era in Japan.
The Blue House denied having conceded anything. A senior official, speaking off the record, emphasized several times in comments to reporters, “We put weight on action, not words.”


by Chun Su-jin


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