Japan calls for talks with China, S Korea

January 18, 2014 - 12:13:29 am
TOKYO:  Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida called yesterday for summit talks with China and South Korea after more than a year of fractious arguments that have prevented any top-level meetings.

Beijing and Seoul have both refused to meet with conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, citing what they say is his lack of remorse for World War II wrongs and his intention to remilitarise Japan.

“Individual problems that we have with China and South Korea are the kind of issues that are difficult to solve in the short term,” Kishida said. “But I wonder if it’s right to take the attitude that we should not have talks because we have issues.

“Exactly because there are problems, political leaders should hold talks and make efforts to solve them, shouldn’t they?” he said.

Abe, China’s President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye all came to power around a year ago, but entrenched positions and growing nationalism in the three countries has prevented them from getting together.

Seoul and Beijing were angered by Abe’s visit last month to a shrine in Tokyo that counts 14 senior war criminals among the 2.5 million souls it commemorates.

Abe defended the visit as a pledge against war and said it was not aimed at hurting feelings in China and South Korea.