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Yoon may visit Japan this month to mark landmark deal: sources

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : March 6, 2023 - 15:08

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President Yoon Suk Yeol gives a commemorative speech at the 104th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement Day held at the Yu Gwan-sun Memorial Hall in Jung-gu, Seoul, on March 1. (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol gives a commemorative speech at the 104th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement Day held at the Yu Gwan-sun Memorial Hall in Jung-gu, Seoul, on March 1. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol may visit Japan later this month to mark a historic deal between South Korea and Japan to resolve a long-standing dispute over compensation to forced laborers during Japan's colonial rule of Korea from 1910 to 1945, according to sources on Monday. The details of the visit are still being discussed and have not been confirmed by either side.

Yoon’s visit is likely to be scheduled for the end of this month after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's visit to India from March 19 to 21, according to sources from the presidential office.

President Yoon is also anticipated to visit the US in April and attend the Group of 7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, where there may be a possibility for a trilateral summit with the US and Japan.

According to the sources, South Korea and Japan are currently engaged in last-minute discussions regarding a plan for President Yoon's visit to Japan on the occasion of South Korea’s announcement of a plan to resolve the long-standing dispute over forced laborers.

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin announced on Monday that the country plans to compensate forced laborers through a public foundation, which will be funded by private sector companies.

Before leaving for the US, national security adviser Kim Sung-han told reporters on Sunday that if the outstanding issues between South Korea and Japan are resolved effectively, it could further strengthen the relationship between South Korea, the US and Japan.

Kim said that immediately after the two leaders untangle the “so-called Gordian knot" – in which a complicated problem gets solved all at once -- it is necessary to deal with pending issues with a sense of speed. "The timing and level of such an opportunity will be determined through consultations between the two sides soon," he said.