Kishida, Yoon agree to resume 'shuttle diplomacy'

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol have agreed to resume the so-called shuttle diplomacy between the leaders of the two countries. Such mutual visits have not taken place in more than a decade.

Kishida and Yoon held a joint news conference after a summit meeting in Tokyo on Thursday.

Kishida hailed a plan that the South Korean government announced earlier this month to settle the wartime labor issue. He said his government believes the plan will help the two countries restore good relations.

Kishida thanked Yoon for his strong leadership in drawing up the settlement plan under which a South Korea foundation will pay damages in place of Japanese companies to those who say they or their relatives were forced to work for the firms during World War Two.

Kishida said he believes the foundation will not demand that the Japanese companies pay back afterward.

Kishida said he told Yoon that his government will uphold the 1998 bilateral declaration that called for a new future-oriented partnership and take over positions of former Japanese governments over historical issues.

Kishida said he expects the South Korean side to implement the plan and promote bilateral exchanges in political, economic and cultural fields.

The two leaders also agreed on an urgent need to strengthen bilateral ties based on the spirit of the 1965 normalization of relations as the security situation in the region has worsened.

Kishida and Yoon also reaffirmed the trilateral cooperation involving the United States in responding to North Korea's missile threat, following the launch of a ballistic missile by Pyongyang earlier on Thursday.

They agreed to resume a bilateral security dialogue between foreign and defense officials of the two countries for the first time in about five years.

They also agreed to set up a new framework for economic security talks in order to strengthen cooperation in an effort to ensure semiconductor supply chains and supremacy of quantum and other advanced technologies.

The two reaffirmed the importance of implementing a bilateral intelligence-sharing pact, known as GSOMIA, in a stable manner as defense cooperation between Japan and South Korea would contribute to peace and stability in the region.

Kishida hailed Yoon's visit as a major step forward in improving ties, and expressed hope that it will further develop trust and friendship between the two countries.

During the talks, Kishida reportedly asked Yoon to implement the 2015 bilateral agreement on the issue of those referred to as comfort women.

He also conveyed to the president Japan's position on the issue of the Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan. South Korea controls the islands. Japan claims them.