South Korea and Japan will hold talks on Friday to strengthen cooperation in the development sector, setting aside their political differences, officials said.
The two countries have held annual meetings to discuss their respective development policies but have yet to conduct any joint projects. Development cooperation is seen as one area where the neighbors could work together despite their various rows over history and territorial issues.
"South Korea and Japan are the only donor nations in the Asia-Pacific region," a Foreign Ministry official told Yonhap News Agency, speaking on customary condition of anonymity. "It's only natural for the two countries to cooperate in the development sector in places like Southeast Asia, so we're thinking of ways to produce concrete outcomes."
South Korea has been building its status as a donor nation with increased contributions to the international community. It is the only country that has gone from being an aid recipient to a donor.
Japan, meanwhile, is the fifth largest donor nation in the world.
The meeting will be led by Lee Yong-soo, director-general of the ministry's development cooperation division, and his Japanese counterpart Takio Yamada.
The agenda will include cooperation on the U.N. sustainable development goals, which were adopted last year to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.
South Korea could also propose working together on development projects led by international agencies or sending aid workers to each other's respective development projects around the world, the official said. (Yonhap)