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US officials, lawmakers praise Yoon's leadership in improving relations with Japan

By Yonhap

Published : July 12, 2023 - 11:23

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The ruling People Power Party's leader, Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon (4th from right), poses for a photo after a meeting with White House Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell (4th from left) in Washington on Wednesday. (Yonhap) The ruling People Power Party's leader, Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon (4th from right), poses for a photo after a meeting with White House Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell (4th from left) in Washington on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

White House Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell and US Congressional leaders praised President Yoon Suk Yeol for his drive to improve relations with Japan when they held meetings with a delegation of the ruling People Power Party, the lawmakers said.

The People Power Party delegation, led by leader Kim Gi-hyeon, has been on a visit to Washington as part of parliamentary diplomacy aimed at strengthening the alliance between the two countries on the occasion of its 70th anniversary this year.

On Tuesday, the delegation held a meeting with Campbell, where the US official was quoted as saying that Yoon showed courageous leadership in dealing with relations with Japan and US President Joe Biden is also pleased with that.

Relations between Seoul and Tokyo have markedly improved since Yoon took office and resolved the long-running row over wartime forced labor with a decision to compensate victims without asking Japanese firms for contributions.

During the meeting, People Power Party leader Kim also stressed the importance of maintaining relations with China, and Campbell agreed with his point.

"Both South Korea and the US have numerous economic issues related to China," Kim told reporters after the meeting. Kim said he also emphasized during the meeting that China cannot be excluded when it comes to economic matters.

After the meeting with Campbell, the delegates held a luncheon discussion with experts from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, as well as a series of meetings with lawmakers from the US Senate and House of Representatives, including Sen. Bob Menendez, Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Young Kim.

The US lawmakers also complimented President Yoon's efforts to improve South Korea's relationship with Japan, said the People Power Party's chief spokesperson, Rep. Yoo Sang-bum.

They also told the Korean lawmakers that Washington understands Seoul's concern on recent laws feared to negatively impact Korean companies, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, and assured that South Korea is at a better place than others due to the free trade agreement with the US, Yoo said.

On Thursday, Kim and the delegates are scheduled to meet with two co-chairs of the Congressional Korea Caucus, as well as officials from the US State Department, before they head to New York. (Yonhap)