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S. Korea to work toward improving relations with Japan with open mindset: Cheong Wa Dae official

This file photo from last Thursday, shows Park Soo-hyun, Cheong Wa Dae's senior secretary for public communication, speaking to reporters at the presidential office in Seoul. (Yonhap)
This file photo from last Thursday, shows Park Soo-hyun, Cheong Wa Dae's senior secretary for public communication, speaking to reporters at the presidential office in Seoul. (Yonhap)
South Korea will work toward advancing its relationship with Japan frayed by common history issues, a key presidential official said Wednesday, amid news that Japan canceled agreed-upon talks between the leaders of the two nations during the recent Group of Seven (G-7) summit.

According to a Seoul foreign ministry official, Japan canceled a tentative agreement to hold a "pull-aside" meeting between their leaders on the sidelines of the recent G-7 summit held in Cornwall, Britain, taking issue with South Korea's annual drill to safeguard the East Sea territory.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, however, did have some face time with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, exchanging greetings before an expanded session of the summit on Saturday.

Moon, along with leaders of Australia, India and South Africa, was invited as a guest to this year's G-7 gathering.

"I'm aware that both countries worked a lot toward the (canceled) talks," Park Soo-hyun, Cheong Wa Dae's senior secretary for public communication, said in a radio interview with KBS.

Park, however, stopped short of going into further details, saying that revealing more would be "inappropriate in terms of developing the bilateral relationship."

The secretary also stressed that Seoul "will continue to work toward the advancement of the South Korea-Japan relationship," while expressing regret that the news coverage on Moon's G-7 attendance and European visit was focused on the canceled meeting with Suga.

On recent Seoul-Beijing ties following last month's summit between Moon and US President Joe Biden, Park stated that China was not necessarily "speaking tough" on the summit outcome and that Beijing also "fully understands" Seoul's position of underscoring its alliance with Washington.

Park also explained that Seoul's proposal for COVID-19 vaccine cooperation with Pyongyang is predicated on the condition that issues of domestic vaccinations and supplies are completely resolved.

On Monday, Moon said, if North Korea agrees, South Korea will push proactively for cooperation with the communist country on COVID-19 vaccine supplies. The statement was made during a press conference in Vienna after summit talks with his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Van der Bellen. (Yonhap)

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