Japan, South Korea vow greater cooperation ahead of China meeting
Japan and South Korea pledged greater cooperation to overcome the global financial crisis ahead of a summit with China in the Japanese city of Fukuoka on Saturday.
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak made the announcement before meeting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, reported dpa.
The three Asian powers were also expected to discuss North Korea's controversial nuclear programme at the four-hour meeting.
At their bilateral meeting, Aso and Lee said they "regretted" North Korea's lack of cooperation in the recent negotiations to allow inspections of Pyongyang's nuclear sites, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported.
The negotiations in Beijing ended Thursday after four days without resolution.
Lee invited Aso to visit South Korea early in the new year, an invitation Aso said he intended to take up as early as possible, Kyodo reported.
Ties between Japan and South Korea have been strained in the past over Japan's handling of its war history and a territorial dispute over two uninhabited islets.
Aso and Lee said they hoped to expand ties.
Aso also said he supported an early resumption of talks on a free trade agreement with South Korea, which Lee said he was open to.
The two countries agreed to expand a currency swap to 30 billion dollars to stabilize the South Korean won.