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(LEAD) Top diplomats of S. Korea, Japan meet bilaterally in London amid strained ties

17:58 May 05, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout)

LONDON/SEOUL, May 5 (Yonhap) -- Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong met one-on-one with his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, on the margins of a Group of Seven (G-7) gathering in London on Wednesday, in their first talks since Chung's inauguration in February.

Before Wednesday's talks, the two top diplomats had no communication as relations between Seoul and Tokyo remain frayed over the prolonged row stemming from Japan's wartime forced labor, sexual slavery and its export curbs on Seoul.

Their 20-minute talks came after they held a trilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss shared issues, including efforts to bring North Korea back to denuclearization dialogue.

"I had good talks," Chung told Yonhap News Agency after the meeting with Motegi.

During the talks, Chung expressed his will to strengthen communication with Tokyo on various pending issues, and Motegi fully shared the view, an official at Seoul's foreign ministry said on condition of anonymity.

"The talks proceeded in a good atmosphere, and this served as an opportunity for the earnest start of communication between the two countries," the official said.

Chung and Motegi were expected to discuss how to improve relations between the two countries, the North's nuclear and missile threat and Japan's recent decision to discharge radioactive water from its wreaked Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The two countries held their last foreign ministerial meeting in Germany in February last year, when then Minister Kang Kyung-wha held talks with Motegi and her then U.S. counterpart, Mike Pompeo.

This undated composite photo shows Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong (L) and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi. (Yonhap)



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