With the new administration in Seoul setting to take office next month, strained bilateral relations between Japan and South Korea are expected to be revitalized.
A delegation sent by South Korea’s President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol to Tokyo assured Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi during a meeting on Monday of the new leadership’s determination to enhance relations.
The two sides pledged to improve their relations, Kyodo News reported.
Chung Jin Suk, the delegation head and deputy speaker of the South Korea National Assembly, told reporters after meeting with Hayashi that the two sides agreed to “maintain and beef up bilateral relations.”
He said South Korea and Japan “share the same ideas on freedom, democracy and a market economy.”
For his part, Hayashi said: “The two Asian countries need to develop ties based on friendship and cooperation.”
During the five-day trip to Japan, the South Korean delegation is expected to meet with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, his predecessors Shinzo Abe and Yoshihide Suga.
The delegation has extended an invitation to a group of senior Japanese lawmakers to attend Yoon’s oath-taking ceremony next month.
Bilateral relations between the Asian nations, allies of the US in the region, have nosedived due to issues stemming from Japan’s colonial rule over the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945.
Seoul has demanded restitution from Tokyo for what it refers to as “wartime forced labor.” Tokyo considers the issue to have been resolved in the past.