Blue House offers date for bilateral talks for Park, Abe

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Blue House offers date for bilateral talks for Park, Abe

Seoul has proposed to Tokyo that a summit between President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe take place on Nov. 2, the presidential office announced on Monday. It is currently awaiting a final reply.

“Korea and Japan have been consulting to arrange a bilateral summit on the sidelines of the Korea-Japan-China summit,” the official said. “We recently proposed scheduling the bilateral summit for Nov. 2.”

The leaders of Korea, Japan and China are set to meet here for a trilateral summit later this week or early next week, with the expectation being that talks will take place Sunday.

U.S. President Barack Obama facilitated trilateral talks with Park and Abe in March 2014 at The Hague on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit; however, Park and Abe have yet to hold an official bilateral summit since either took office, as diplomatic relations between the two countries have rapidly soured amid unresolved historical and territorial issues.

Officials in Seoul have said that a Korea-Japan summit is largely dependent on Tokyo’s sincerity in dealing with the “comfort women” issue, a reference to the tens of thousands of Korean women forced in sexual slavery by the Japanese during World War II.

Seoul and Tokyo have had nine rounds of talks to address the issue, and a summit between Park and Abe is anticipated as an opportunity for both sides to confirm that progress.

This week, the Blue House also announced that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang would visit Korea from Saturday until Monday upon the invitation of President Park.

He will attend the trilateral summit, the Blue House said, and meet with Park on Saturday.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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