After weeks of negotiations, President Moon Jae-in called off a possible trip to Tokyo for the start of the Olympics this week which would have led to a first in person summit with Prime Minister Yohshide Suga.
This in the wake of a Japanese diplomat making contentious comments about the policies of the South Korean president.
The top office said Monday that although the two sides had meaningful consultations, progress was deemed “insufficient.”
For more we have our presidential correspondent Kim Min-ji on the line.
Minji, the decision comes after weeks of media speculation. Tell us more.
Right, Conn-young. It’s official President Moon Jae-in will not be visiting Japan on the occasion of the Tokyo Summer Olympics.
The Blue House said that South Korea and Japan had meaningful consultations but that a summit is not expected to yield any achievements.
Here’s the senior presidential secretary for public communication.
“The South Korean and Japanese governments held meaningful consultations on progress regarding bilateral historical issues and future-oriented cooperation open to the possibility of a summit. Although we were able to get close to an understanding in a friendly environment, we made this decision because this was not enough to warrant a summit and in consideration of various other issues.”
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With that, a potential face-to-face summit with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has also been scrapped.
Moon has not yet held a summit with Suga since the Japanese leader took office.
They met briefly at the G7 Summit in the UK in June.
The top office, however, expressed hope that Japan will host the Olympics, a festival of peace for people around the world, safely and successfully and that South Korean athletes will demonstrate their abilities and return home safely.
South Korea will be represented by the culture minister.
The top office said they took into consideration other situations. What are some events that could’ve led South Korea to make this decision?
Right. Although the top office didn’t elaborate on what the “various situations were” it is likely referring to inappropriate remarks about President Moon by a high-level Japanese diplomat based in Seoul.
The deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul Hiroshima Soma reportedly made personally insulting comments about Moon’s efforts to restore bilateral ties.
Earlier this morning, a senior Blue House official said that Japan has yet to take acceptable actions regarding what it called an issue that has recently become an “obstacle.”
On top of that, Japan also recently repeated its false claims to South Korea’s easternmost island of Dokdo in its annual defense white paper.
Mind you, ties between South Korea and Japan have been on edge over issues such as Tokyo’s wartime use of forced labor and sexual slavery as well as its export curbs on Seoul.
South Korea had said that it could hold a summit on the condition that momentum will be created to find a resolution over the outstanding matters.
The top office said that it will continue to make efforts for dialogue with Japan during the remainder of Moon’s term saying that it regrets that there wasn’t an opportunity this time.
Back to you.