Japan and S. Korea Announce Resumption of Finance Ministers’ Meeting

by | 2. May 2023 - 14:15 | Economy

The announcement comes ahead of the first visit to South Korea by a Japanese premier since 2018. The two neighbors aim to normalize relations and agree to resume economic cooperation.

The finance ministers of Japan and South Korea announced to resume their long-stalled meeting to normalize the two countries’ economic ties. The agreement was reached during a meeting of South Korean Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho and his Japanese counterpart, Shunichi Suzuki during the 56th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Incheon, South Korea, The Korea Times writes.

Ties between Seoul and Tokyo have long been complicated by grievances linked to Japan’s wartime rule over the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945. The relations reached a new low in 2018 after South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered Japanese companies to pay compensations for forced labor during the Japanese rule.

Geopolitical and economic challenges rekindle cooperation

With Japan’s Prime Minister Fumido Kishida on Monday also announcing a 2-day visit to Korea to meet with his South Korean counterpart President Yoon Suk Yeol on the coming weekend, the countries are increasing efforts to improve bilateral ties to respond to geopolitical tensions and financial challenges, according to Nikkei (Paywall). Nuclear threats from North Korea and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have prompted South Korea and Japan to make joint efforts condemning Pyeongyang and Moscow. Additionally, China’s dominating position in the critical raw material industry like the mining and processing of rare earths will be another central topic of the meeting. The finance ministers hence added that cooperation in high-technology sectors such as semiconductors, batteries, and biotechnologies should be extended and the dependency on China limited. Korea announced its plans to reduce its reliance on imports of critical raw materials earlier this year, while Japan declared the same in 2022.

Japan is at the center of politics in 2023, as the island nation hosts the G7 summit later this month. Leaders of the member states and the EU will discuss geopolitical, economic, and other challenges from May 19th through May 21st in Hiroshima, Western Japan. PM Kishida has also invited Yoon to attend the summit as a guest.

Photo: iStock/Oleksii Liskonih

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