Japanese PM to meet Lee later this month

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Japanese PM to meet Lee later this month


Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-hwan, left, shakes hands with Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Seoul yesterday. The two ministers announced that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda would visit Seoul later this month to hold summit talks with President Lee Myung-bak. [NEWSIS]

President Lee Myung-bak will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda for the second time on Oct. 19 in Seoul to discuss specific bilateral matters, including contentious issues stemming from Japan’s 35-year colonial rule.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-hwan and his Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba announced the news after meeting in Seoul yesterday.

Lee first met Noda on Sept. 21 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where the president proposed the visit to Noda. The upcoming summit will be Noda’s first visit to Korea.

Noda became Japan’s latest prime minister on Sept. 2.

In their first meeting, the two leaders only addressed broad issues, agreeing to pursue a future-oriented relationship.

But diplomatic observers say the upcoming summit will broach controversial issues that they say will be difficult to reach agreement on.

At the foreign ministers’ meeting yesterday, Gemba essentially rejected Seoul’s suggestion to discuss the issue of compensation for Japanese exploitation of Korean women as sex slaves during World War II, saying that Japan saw it as a settled matter.

“About the settlement agreement between Korea and Japan, we have made clear Japan’s stance in a consistent manner,” Gemba said at a press conference following his meeting with Kim. “I will not repeat it here.”

Gemba said, however, that he would be open to continue discussing the issue with Kim.

On Sept. 15, Seoul proposed bilateral talks to determine whether a 1965 settlement agreement exempted Japan from legal responsibility for the so-called “comfort women,” citing a clause in the agreement that leaves room for negotiations when there is a difference in its interpretation.

Japan argues that the settlement agreement, for which the Park Chung Hee administration received $800 million in aid and loans, settled all individual claims from Korea for Japan’s wartime acts.

Korea, meanwhile, maintains that the comfort women issue is separate, as are the issues of Korean victims of the nuclear bombings in Japan and conscripted Korean laborers on Sakhalin Island.

By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

MB·노다, 19일 서울서 정상회담

이명박 대통령과 노다 요시히코(野田佳彦) 일본 총리가 19일 서울에서 정상회담을 한다. 김성환 외교통상부 장관과 겐바 고이치로(玄葉光一郞) 일본 외상은 6일 외교부 청사에서 회담한 뒤 공동 기자회견을 열고 이런 내용을 발표했다. 겐바 외상은 “노다 총리가 18일 방한해 19일 이 대통령과 정상회담을 할 예정”이라고 말했다. 김 장관은 “노다 총리의 방한을 포함한 정상 간 셔틀 외교를 활성화하기로 했다”고 밝혔다. 셔틀 외교는 양국 정상이 현안 발생 시 당일치기나 1박2일의 짧은 일정으로 두 나라를 오가며 해법을 모색하는 자리다. 앞서 두 정상은 지난달 21일 미국 뉴욕에서의 유엔 총회를 계기로 노다 총리 취임 후 첫 번째 정상회담을 한 바 있다. 이번 한·일 정상회담은 이 대통령의 미국 국빈방문(13~14일) 직후 열린다는 점에서 북핵 문제 등에서 한·미·일 공조를 다지는 의미도 있다.

 이날 외교장관 회담에서 위안부 문제에 대해 겐바 외상은 “(한·일 청구권 협정으로 문제가 해결됐다는) 일본의 입장을 일관되게 밝혀왔다”고 말했다. 한·일 자유무역협정(FTA)과 관련, 김 장관은 “(한국의) 무역적자가 큰 폭으로 지속되고 있는 점 등을 고려할 때 FTA를 논의하기 위한 환경 조성이 필요하다”고 말했다.
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