The Korea Herald

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South Korea, Japan pushing for high-level economic talks in Jan.: source

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Jan. 3, 2016 - 09:55

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South Korea and Japan are trying to schedule high-level talks to discuss bilateral economic issues and cooperation, a government source here said Sunday.

According to the source, the two countries are pushing for their 14th high-level economic consultation in Tokyo in mid-January. The last such meeting took place in Seoul in January 2015.

Lee Tae-ho, South Korea's deputy foreign minister for economic affairs, will represent Seoul, while his counterpart will be Yasumasa Nagamine, Tokyo's deputy foreign minister for economic affairs.

In these meetings, the two countries have discussed economic issues of mutual concern, such as trade, investment and cooperation in private sectors.

Bilateral ties are at a critical moment, as both sides recently struck a deal on resolving the issue of Korean women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during World War II.

Japan could renew its calls on South Korea to resume its imports of Japanese fishery goods. Since September 2013, South Korea has banned imports of all fishery products from eight Japanese prefectures near the site of a nuclear accident in Fukushima. Upon Japan's request, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has set up a special panel to look into the ban.

Japan may also take issues with compensation lawsuits filed by South Korean victims of forced labor during Japan's colonial rule of Korea from 1910-1945.

At the economic talks, however, the two countries are unlikely to reach any sort of conclusion in such legal matters, the South Korean government source said.

"The meeting will be more about reviewing and discussing our overall economic situations, and not so much about negotiating pending issues," the source said. "Our stance is that we should continue on with close economic cooperation, regardless of the political climate." (Yonhap)