Kishida to visit S.Korea for summit

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio will begin a two-day visit to South Korea on Sunday.

Kishida's trip to South Korea will be his first since taking office in 2021.

It comes after the prime minister made an agreement with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol during their meeting in Tokyo in March. The two agreed to resume the kind of shuttle diplomacy that some previous leaders engaged in.

Kishida will become the first Japanese prime minister in 12 years to visit South Korea for summit talks.

After arriving in South Korea at around noon on Sunday, Kishida is expected to lay flowers at a national cemetery. He will then hold talks with Yoon in the afternoon.

The two leaders are expected to agree to increase bilateral security cooperation in order to address issues, such as North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs.

The agenda for the summit will also likely include economic security cooperation in semiconductor production and export controls between the two countries.

The leaders are also expected to share information on the implementation of a plan aimed at settling a wartime labor issue. The South Korean government created the plan.

South Korea's presidential office expects Kishida's visit to jump-start the shuttle diplomacy. Seoul is apparently eager to accelerate efforts to improve relations with Tokyo.

But South Korea's largest opposition Democratic Party has been critical of the Yoon administration since the president visited Japan in March. It described the visit to Tokyo as "humiliating diplomacy."

South Korean media outlets say that the two leaders will likely discuss Japan's plan to release treated and diluted water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean. Some South Koreans are concerned about the plan.

The Japanese government says the water will be diluted to bring the concentration of radioactive tritium down to levels that are below those permitted by the nation's regulations, before it is released into the ocean.