South Korean President Park Geun-hye will meet this week with visiting Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe, her office announced Thursday, an event that may help warm frosty ties between the neighboring nations.
The president plans to receive a courtesy call from the governor Friday morning at his request, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Min Kyung-wook said.
Masuzoe will be the first Japanese politician to formally meet with Park in South Korea in 17 months, with the two nations still locked in political and diplomatic stand-offs over their shared history.
The governor, a professor-turned-politician, is on a trip here to promote exchanges between the capitals of the two countries. He held talks with Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon Wednesday.
Min pointed out it is the first official visit to Seoul by a Tokyo governor in 18 years.
“Although South Korea-Japan relations remain strained, (we) hope good exchange and cooperation between the local authorities of both nations will continue so as to contribute to the promotion of friendliness between peoples and the development of their ties,” the spokesman said.
In February last year, Park had a meeting in Seoul with a group of senior Japanese politicians, including Taro Aso, Yasuo Fukuda and Yoshiro Mori, who attended her inauguration ceremony.
She met with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in trilateral talks, hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama, in the Netherlands, in March on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit.
On Wednesday, meanwhile, senior South Korean and Japanese diplomats had another round of talks in Seoul over the issue of Japanese military’s sexual enslavement of Korean and other Asian women during World War II. The two sides, however, again failed to narrow differences. (Yonhap)