Japan, South Korea agree to strengthen bilateral ties
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak
agreed Monday to strengthen bilateral cooperation on North Korea, economic
issues and global warming.
Fukuda and Lee, who arrived in Japan Sunday for a two-day visit, met for the second time since Lee took office in February and were expected to issue a joint statement on a new era of bilateral relations.
At their meeting Monday, the two leaders agreed to resume yearly meetings, which had been suspended since 2005 in the wake of former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours Japanese war dead, including convicted World War II war criminals.
Relations between the two countries were strained under Koizumi over a range of issues related to World War II and Japan's occupation of the Korean Peninsula in the first half of the 20th century.
Fukuda and Lee, who first met at Lee's inauguration in Seoul, also agreed to reinforce trilateral ties with the United States to dismantle North Korea's nuclear programmes and tackle environmental issues.
They also plan to establish working groups as they reconfirmed the importance of their economic partnership.