Lee to go straight from summit to APEC forum

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Lee to go straight from summit to APEC forum

Shortly after hosting the G-20 Summit this week, President Lee Myung-bak will travel to Japan to attend the weekend Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the Blue House said yesterday.

According to a senior presidential official, leaders of the 21 APEC economies will gather in Yokohama Saturday to begin a two-day summit. “We expect Lee to play a role of a bridge between the G-20 and APEC,” said the official. “He will seek cooperation of the APEC members to support the main agenda items agreed to at the G-20, including efforts to fight trade protectionism, as global trade will be a key issue at the APEC summit.”

Lee will have a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on the sidelines of the APEC meeting to discuss bilateral cooperation measures as well as North Korea’s nuclear crisis. Japan’s agreement to return an ancient set of royal Korean books called “Uigwe: The Royal Protocols of the Joseon Dynasty,” which were seized during the Japanese colonial rule of Korea, will be settled.

Meanwhile, Blue House and Defense Ministry officials denied Korean and Japanese media reports yesterday that the two countries have begun talks to establish a bilateral General Security of Military Information Agreement. The reports said the agreement would establish a system for Seoul and Tokyo to exchange military strategies and information to guard against any emergency with North Korea.

A Defense Ministry official said low-level officials from both countries are studying the need for such a system, but there is no decision.

A Blue House official confirmed that the system is being studied, but the agreement, even if pursued, has no direct link to North Korea, he said. He also denied speculation that the issue will be concluded this weekend.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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