“Korea and Japan are closest neighbors geographically as well as historically and culturally and we are also key partners for mutual prosperity when it comes to trade and people-to-people exchanges,” said President Moon Jae-in at his meeting with Prime Minister Abe in China on Dec. 24, 2019 on the occasion of their participation in the 8th Korea-China-Japan Summit in Chengdu.
Then he added: “I hope that our close forward-looking cooperation related to economic, cultural and people-to-people exchanges will be further strengthened and that we will always work together in the interest of peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia.” (See excerpts from the speech of President Moon at the end of this article.)
According to the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Korea and Japan are very close neighbors and very import ant strategic partners to each other for the promotion of cooperation of peace and prosperity in the Northeast Asian region.
Korea and Japan are the third largest trade partners to each other in the world. Last year alone, a total of over 10 million people of Korea and Japan visited each other’s country. In view of this, peoples of Korea and Japan are firmly convinced that the two peoples continue to work together as good friends for their common prosperity and welfare.
As well as the leaders of the two governments, the people in Korea and Japan are seen fully knowledgeable on the importance of close relations between the two countries.
In particular, Japan hosts the Olympic Games in Tokyo this year first time in 56 years on the theme of “Discover Tomorrow.”
There are many things to be done between the two countries for the promotion of relations, friendship and cooperation between the two closest neighbor countries of Asia..
Suggestions are made to further strengthen not only the government-to-government exchanges but also various exchanges and cooperation also in the private sector.
It is true that there exists difference in opinion between the two countries as well as pending issues. However, it is viewed to be important for the two countries to try to continue to increase and expand communication between the two countries and peoples in order to further strengthen and expand the range of understanding and friendship between the two peoples.
On the basis of increased ties of friendship, understanding and trust, the two countries are expected to be able to further increase and expand the range of their understanding, friendship and cooperation.
Korea should try to further increase her formal and private diplomatic efforts to encourage and promote good feelings among the people in Japan to develop and have friendly feelings toward the Korean people. Such efforts could be made both in the official diplomatic channels and also at the private sector.
Efforts should also be increase for cooperation between Korea and Japan for the cause and relations of complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula for durable and permanent peace and prosperity on the Korean soil and the world. Increased relations of affinity and cooperation between Korea and Japan are also closely related with promotion of inter-Korean relations and relations between North Korea and Japan and North Korea and the United States.
Most of all, increased friendship and cooperation between Korea and Japan is considered conducive and essential to the promotion of peace in the world as well as on the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia.
Efforts should also be made to improve the environment of relations and cooperation between Korea and Japan through increased efforts bilateral tourist exchanges so that future-oriented base of affinity and cooperation could be further increased and expanded.
Korea and Japan also have common problems such as low birthrate, ageing of society, energy shortages and environmental problems. The two countries should try to join hands to solve such problems through increased bilateral cooperation.
The businesses of the two countries can also lend their hand to promoting the relations and friendship between the two countries. They can joint seek ways and means in all fields for a mutual win-win benefits. The governments and private sector should increase their efforts to further promote such win-win cooperation between the two countries and peoples.
Now that the people-to-people exchanges between Korea and Japan have increased to over ten million peoples this year, added efforts should be made to further promote practical exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in the economic, cultural and various other fields. Such efforts could result in furthering the range of good feelings on the part of the two people to each other.
Korea and Japan could also seek ways to finds common grounds in developing future-oriented cooperation.
Excerpts from the speech of President Moon at Korea-Japan summit in China:
Prime Minister Abe, it is a pleasure to meet you here. Congratulations on your becoming Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and on your successful leadership as the first prime minister in the first year of the Reiwa Era. I look forward to Japan’s continued advancement and prosperity through the “beautiful harmony” indicated by the new Era’s name.
Our summit today is garnering considerable attention inside and outside Korea. People in Japan and Korea as well as other parts of the world were also keenly interested in the fact that we held a brief meeting in Bangkok. We both know what their expectations are all about.
I believe having face-to-face meetings and candid discussions provide the strongest means for us to resolve pending issues between our two countries.
At our previous meeting in Bangkok, we reaffirmed the principle that issues involving Korea and Japan must be addressed through dialogue. Thus, our two countries’ diplomatic and export control authorities are now in consultations with those aims.
I hope that officials on both sides will put their heads together and quickly draw up a plan for a judicious solution. Japan and the Republic of Korea are each other’s closest neighbors geographically as well as historically and culturally.
We are also key partners for mutual prosperity when it comes to trade and people-to-people exchanges. Temporary discomfort notwithstanding, our two countries absolutely cannot be allowed to drift apart.
I hope that our close forward-looking cooperation related to economic, cultural and people-to-people exchanges will be further strengthened and that we will always work together in the interest of peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia.
I look forward to having candid discussions with Your Excellency today so that we can offer a gift of hope to the peoples of our two countries as well as to the international community.