Tag Archives: Lee Myung-bak

Bilateral ties strained between Japan and South Korea and no summit likely at APEC meeting

It is unlikely that Japan and South Korea will hold a bilateral summit on the sidelines of the summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vladivostok this weekend.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak will be among the leaders of the 21 APEC leaders to attend the annual summit.

A South Korean foreign ministry spokesman told reporters on Tuesday that neither side has proposed holding a bilateral summit.

He also said no meeting is scheduled either between Japan’s Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Kim Sung-hwan. Both will attend the APEC ministerial meeting opening on Wednesday.

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Seoul Sex Slave Statue Becomes Focal Point of Dispute With Japan

The unsmiling teenage girl in traditional Korean dress sits in a chair, her feet bare, her hands on her lap, her eyes fixed on the Japanese Embassy across a narrow street in central Seoul. Within a day, the life-size bronze statue had become the focal point of a simmering diplomatic dispute as President Lee Myung-bak prepared to visit Tokyo this weekend.
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The statue, named the Peace Monument, was financed with citizens’ donations and installed Wednesday, when five women in their 80s and 90s, who were among thousands forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military during World War II, protested in front of the embassy, joined by their supporters. Such protests have been held weekly for almost 20 years.

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Japan and South Korea continue tough and unified stance with North Korea

The top diplomats of South Korea and Japan showed North Korea a tough, unified face Saturday, saying it must prove it is serious about giving up its atomic ambitions before they will allow a new round of aid-for-nuclear disarmament talks.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan told reporters after a meeting in Seoul with his Japanese counterpart, Seiji Maehara, that the North must demonstrate its "true commitment" to abandoning a nuclear program that is believed to have produced enough weaponized plutonium for at least half a dozen bombs. The North also unveiled in November a uranium enrichment facility that could give it a second way to make atomic bombs.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak told Maehara in a separate meeting that the issue of North’s uranium enrichment should be taken to the U.N. Security Council, presidential spokeswoman Kim Hee-jung said. Maehara agreed, she said.

North Korea, which shelled a South Korean island in November, killing four, has expressed its desire to restart the nuclear talks it quit in early 2009. The talks involve the two Koreas, Japan, the United States, China and Russia.

South Korea, the United States and Japan, frustrated over what they see as the North’s habit of breaking nuclear deals once it has received much-needed aid, want it to first show its good faith on disarmament.

"North Korea should show its true commitment toward denuclearization through specific actions," Kim said. He didn’t elaborate.

Read the rest of the story: South Korea, Japan continue hard line on NKorea.