North Korea threat on agenda when South Korean FM visits Japan

Kang Kyung-wha will arrive in Tokyo on Tuesday. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 17 December 2017
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North Korea threat on agenda when South Korean FM visits Japan

SEOUL: South Korea’s foreign minister will visit Japan this week to meet her Japanese counterpart, the foreign ministry said on Sunday, with Seoul and Tokyo seeking to boost cooperation over the handling of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. The need to confront the threat posed by North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear tests comes despite lingering tension over the issue of sexual slavery during Japan’s wartime occupation of Korea.
Kang Kyung-wha will arrive in Tokyo on Tuesday and meet Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono during her two-day visit, her first trip to Japan as South Korea’s top diplomat, the foreign ministry in Seoul said in a statement.
“The two ministers will exchange views on issues of common interests focusing on bilateral relations and North Korea-related issues, including its nuclear program,” the ministry statement said.
South Korea and Japan are seeking to improve security cooperation over North Korea, but there have been conflicting signals over whether they can resolve a feud over “comfort women” who were forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels.
Ties have been frozen over the issue, with South Korean President Moon Jae-in has promising to renegotiate an unpopular 2015 pact signed with Japan.
Under that pact, Japan apologized again to former comfort women and promised 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) for a fund to help them. The two governments agreed the issue would be “irreversibly resolved” if both fulfilled their obligations.


Japan halts missile drills after Trump-Kim summit

Updated 21 June 2018
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Japan halts missile drills after Trump-Kim summit

TOKYO: Japan has halted evacuation drills simulating a North Korean missile attack in the wake of historic talks between Washington and Pyongyang, local media reported Thursday.
Government officials did not immediately confirm the reports, but authorities in one town said they were suspending a drill planned for next week on orders from Tokyo.
The decision comes after US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un met last week in Singapore, with the pair signing a joint document calling for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Yaita in Tochigi prefecture north of Tokyo had been planning an evacuation drill for next week involving some 800 residents including 350 school children, city official Yutaka Yanagida said.
But the city suddenly canceled all preparations late Wednesday after being instructed by the government that “drills should be postponed for the time being following a change in the environment after the US-North Korea summit,” he said.
Contacted by AFP, a Cabinet Office official said the government would announce its policy on evacuation drills on Friday, declining to comment further.
Last year, Pyongyang fired two missiles over Japan and it has splashed others into the sea near the country, sparking a mix of panic and outrage.
Earlier this year, hundreds of Tokyo residents scrambled for cover in the Japanese capital’s first evacuation drill for a military attack by Pyongyang.
North Korea has singled out Japan, a key US ally in the region, for verbal attacks, threatening to “sink” the country into the sea and to turn it into “ashes.”
But the regional mood has turned toward diplomacy since the Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea, which set off a series of diplomatic moves culminating in the Trump-Kim meet.