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Foreign ministers of S. Korea, Japan meet amid trade, history row

The foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan held talks in New York Thursday but produced no breakthrough in a row over trade and wartime history.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha met with her new Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, their first meeting since Motegi took office earlier this month.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (right) and her Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi. (Yonhap)
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (right) and her Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi. (Yonhap)

Kang said the two sides reiterated their respective positions on the bilateral dispute, which has seen Tokyo impose export controls on Seoul in apparent retaliation for a South Korean court ruling against Japan's use of forced labor during its 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Still, she said, the two agreed to continue "frank communication" through diplomatic channels and work toward a future-oriented bilateral relationship.

"We agreed to continue communication and consultations at every level of our diplomatic channels, including at the minister level, at every opportunity," she told reporters after the meeting.

"We also noted the importance of coordination between South Korea and Japan on the North Korean nuclear issue," she said.

The White House said earlier that US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe noted the importance of trilateral security cooperation with South Korea during their talks in New York Wednesday.

The statement was an apparent reference to South Korea's decision to withdraw from a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan despite US opposition.

Washington has viewed the pact as a platform for trilateral cooperation against North Korea's nuclear threats and China's military rise. (Yonhap)