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S. Korea, Japan May Reach Deal at Bilateral Summit Under Pressure From US

It is of great concern to South Korea, Japan and the United States whether the settlement on the forced labor issue between South Korea and Japan could finally be reached and their bilateral relations repaired during the first trip to Japan.

Japan of the next South Korean president in 12 years. Chinese analysts believe that even if the settlement is reached with US pressure behind the scenes, the historic dispute is difficult to heal and bilateral relations are unlikely to see much improvement.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol will travel to Japan on Thursday for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, days after South Korea announced a plan to end a row among US allies over wartime forced labor, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The report notes that Yoon’s two-day visit to Japan will be the first such trip by a southern Quran leader in 12 years.

Due to lack of time, it will be difficult to summarize their respective positions and draft a joint statement, so the summit will not issue a joint statement, YNA said Wednesday citing a senior official in South Korea’s presidential office.

The meeting will come after South Korea said last Monday that its companies would compensate victims of forced labor under Japanese colonial rule from 1910 to 1945, seeking to end a dispute that has undermined US-led efforts. United to present a unified front against China, Reuters said. in last Thursday’s report.

Relations plunged to their lowest level in decades after South Korea’s Supreme Court in 2018 ordered Japanese companies to pay reparations to former forced laborers. Fifteen South Koreans have won such cases, but none have been compensated, according to media reports.

The visit will be “an important step in improving relations between South Korea and Japan”, Yoon’s national security adviser Kim Sung-han said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

But clearly, the South Korean public and opposition parties have different views. Yoon’s proposal to resolve the labor dispute drew an immediate reaction from former forced laborers and their supporters. They demanded direct compensation from Japanese companies and a further apology from the Japanese government, AP reported.

Yoon’s compromise resolution also did not appear to receive a warm response from Japan although Kishida said he welcomed the resolution last Monday, Korean Peninsula expert Lü Chao told China Direct on Wednesday. at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences.

The Chinese analyst noted that mainstream Japanese media covered the resolution and Yoon’s upcoming visit “indiscriminately.”

According to Japanese media, Tokyo is considering accepting Seoul’s proposal in general, but some Japanese politicians said caution should be exercised given that South Korea has repeatedly broken the deal with Japan.

In fact, it is the United States that is most excited about the resolution and the upcoming Japan-South Korea summit as the country seeks to bring the two allies closer to its anti-China strategy, Lü said.

US President Joe Biden said last Monday that Seoul’s proposal was “a groundbreaking new chapter of cooperation and partnership between two of America’s closest allies.”

Clearly, Yoon is following Washington’s intention to reestablish ties with Tokyo, Lü said.

But even if the settlement is reached during Yoon’s visit to Japan, the long-running historic feud is hard to heal and bilateral relations are unlikely to see a jump in the short term, the analyst said, warning that the Antagonism between the two peoples might even be stronger if the settlement is reached.

In South Korea, following Yoon’s proposal, his approval rating fell to 38.9 percent, falling below 40 percent for the first time in four weeks, YNA reported on Monday.

In Japan, anti-South Korean sentiment could rise given Yoon’s compromise diplomacy, Lü predicted.

The analyst believes that Japan could do small favors for South Korea, such as revoking some sanctions on crucial supplies for the semiconductor industry, if a forced labor agreement is reached at the meeting. Kishida-Yoon.

Since what really interests Japan and the United States is the so-called protection mechanism for the exchange of military information between the United States, Japan and South Korea, Lü urged Yoon not to follow. blindly to American strategy and to serving the interests of the United States and Japan, which could further alienate it from its independent diplomacy, harm Asia’s stability and security, and even sacrifice its own national interests.

Source : Chine Direct



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