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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The leaders of South Korea and Japan are to fulfill Sunday for his or her second summit in lower than two months, as they push to bolster cooperation following years of fraught ties over historic points.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is to reach in South Korea on Sunday for a two-day go to, which reciprocates a mid-March trip to Tokyo by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.

The trade of visits between the leaders of the Asian neighbors, the primary of its sort in 12 years, alerts that each nations are severe about strengthening ties within the face of shared regional challenges comparable to North Korea’s rising nuclear arsenal and China’s rising assertiveness.

“I hope to have an open-hearted trade of views with President Yoon based mostly on our relationship of belief,” Kishida informed reporters earlier than his departure at his official residence. “Since March, there have been varied ranges of communication in areas together with finance and protection, and I plan to additional develop this ongoing development.”

Yoon’s spokesperson, Lee Do-woon, informed reporters Thursday that Sunday’s summit was anticipated to give attention to safety, financial and cultural cooperation. He earlier mentioned North Korea, general South Korea-Japan relations and unspecified worldwide points can be on the agenda.

Of their summit in March, Yoon and Kishida agreed to renew leadership-level visits and different talks. In current weeks, the 2 nations have additionally withdrawn the financial retaliatory steps that they had earlier taken in opposition to one another in earlier years when their historical past row rekindled.

Ties between Seoul and Tokyo have lengthy suffered on-again, off-again setbacks over points stemming from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

The newest sticking level of their ties was 2018 court rulings in South Korea that ordered two Japanese firms to financially compensate a few of their growing older former Korean staff for colonial-era pressured labor. The verdicts angered Japan, which has argued that each one compensation points had been already settled when the 2 nations normalized ties in 1965.

In an escalation of tensions, the 2 nations later downgraded one another’s commerce standing, whereas Seoul additionally threatened to spike a army intelligence-sharing pact. Some activists and residents in South Korea staged campaigns to boycott Japanese merchandise, as properly.

The strained South Korea-Japan ties difficult U.S. efforts to construct a stronger regional alliance to higher address rising Chinese language affect and North Korean nuclear threats.

In March, nonetheless, Yoon’s conservative authorities took a major step toward mending the ties by saying it will use native funds to compensate the pressured labor victims with out demanding contributions from Japanese firms. Later in March, Yoon traveled to Tokyo to fulfill with Kishida.

Yoon’s push drew robust backlash from a few of the pressured labor victims and his liberal rivals at house, who’ve demanded direct compensation from the Japanese firms. Yoon has defended his determination, saying higher cooperation with Japan is required to deal with a set of challenges comparable to North Korea’s advancing nuclear program, the intensifying U.S.-China strategic rivalry and world provide chain issues.

Some observers say if Kishida presents contemporary apologizes over Japan’s colonial wrongdoing throughout his Seoul go to, that may possible assist Yoon win higher home help for his coverage on Japan.

Requested whether or not he would focus on the pressured labor victims with Yoon, Kishida mentioned at his residence: “We’ll frankly trade our views on this.”

Seoul and Tokyo have a slew of different delicate historical past and territorial disputes, largely associated to the Japanese colonization. In a reminder of the fragile nature of their ties, diplomats between the 2 nations final week spatted over a South Korean lawmaker’s go to to disputed islets positioned within the waters between the 2 nations. Earlier, Seoul protested Kishida’s providing of spiritual choices to a Tokyo shrine that it views as a logo of Japan’s wartime aggression. __

Related Press author Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

By Maggi

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