Japan Suga and South Korea’s Moon to hold first summit on Friday – Yomiuri
TOKYO, July 19 (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will hold their first in-person summit on Friday, coinciding with the start of the Tokyo Olympics, Japanese newspaper Yomiuri reported on Monday.
The report of Moon’s visit comes amid a political uproar in Seoul sparked by a Japanese diplomat’s comments on Moon that have created new tensions in the already strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Moon’s office said Monday the visit was still uncertain.
Leaders are likely to discuss issues that have strained relations over generations, including compensation for those forced to work in Japanese companies and military brothels during Japanese colonial rule from 1910 to 1945, according to the Yomiuri report.
Japan is also considering replacing a Seoul-based senior diplomat after its widely publicized comment last week comparing Moon’s relationship with Japan to “masturbation,” the Yomiuri said.
On Monday, South Korea’s presidential Blue House said in a statement that the two countries were in talks but there had been no decision regarding Moon’s trip.
“It is still not certain that a visit to Japan and a meeting will take place as no satisfactory action has been taken by the Japanese side regarding the last minute obstacle to a (summit) meeting,” a- he declared.
South Korean broadcaster JTBC reported on Friday that a senior diplomat at the Japanese embassy in Seoul said Moon was “masturbating” when describing the South Korean leader’s efforts to improve relations with Tokyo.
South Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun summoned Japanese Ambassador Koichi Aiboshi to protest on Saturday.
“He also called on the Japanese government to quickly take concrete and appropriate measures to prevent such a situation from happening again,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
A spokesman for the Japanese Foreign Ministry said no one could immediately comment on the information.
Suga this month called relations between Japan and South Korea “very difficult,” adding that it was up to Seoul to address the issues. South Korea’s presidential Blue House said a visit from Moon might be possible if he could meet with Suga and if progress on some deals could be expected.
Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim in Tokyo, Sangmi Cha and Jack Kim in Seoul; Editing by Tom Hogue, William Mallard and Gerry Doyle
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