Japan, South Korea Vow to Tackle North Korea’s Provocations in First Summit in Years

Aldgra Fredly
By Aldgra Fredly
November 14, 2022Asia & Pacificshare
Japan, South Korea Vow to Tackle North Korea’s Provocations in First Summit in Years
South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol (R) speaks as Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida looks on during the ASEAN-Plus Three Summit as part of the 40th and 41st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits in Phnom Penh on Nov. 12, 2022. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP via Getty Images)

The leaders of Japan and South Korea have agreed to resolve “pending issues” between their two nations and work together to tackle North Korea’s ongoing missile provocations.

The agreement was made following the first formal meeting between Japanese and South Korean leaders in about three years. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol met on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) summit in Cambodia on Sunday.

Both leaders condemned North Korea’s missile launches as a “serious threat” to global security and pledged to bolster deterrence and trilateral cooperation with the United States, according to Japan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

“At the Japan-ROK summit, I confirmed with President Yoon that we would work together to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific along with the North Korea issue,” Kishida told reporters, using South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea (ROK).

The Japanese leader added that both sides agreed to implement an early resolution to the wartime forced labor dispute stemming from Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula between 1910 and 1945.

The restitution for South Koreans forced to work in Japanese firms and military brothels during the colonization has been a point of contention between the two countries. Japan previously argued that the issues had already been resolved under a 1965 treaty.

North Korea’s escalating missile tests prompted Japan and South Korea to improve relations, a move Yoon described as vital because they face “common threats that challenge the freedom of global citizens.”

‘More Aligned Than Ever’

Prior to their meeting, Kishida and Yoon held a trilateral meeting with President Joe Biden in Cambodia. The leaders issued a joint statement (pdf) reaffirming their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

They vowed “a strong and resolute response” from the international community if North Korea launched a nuclear attack and urged North Korea to return to diplomacy, according to the joint statement.

Biden described Japan and South Korea as “critical allies” of the United States, with their relations becoming “more aligned than ever” in the face of North Korea’s recent spate of missile launches.

“This partnership is even more important than it’s ever been,” he said in the meeting. “We’re also deepening our cooperation and collaboration on a range of other challenges.”

Yoon said that North Korea had launched some 50 missiles since he took office in May, and that North Korea’s missile landing near the Northern Limit Line—the maritime border between the two Koreas—was “an extremely serious provocation.”

“Notably, North Korea, emboldened by its nuclear and missile capabilities, is attempting even more hostile and aggressive provocations,” Yoon added.

From The Epoch Times

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