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(LEAD) Yoon to hold first summit with Japan's Kishida next week

16:53 September 15, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with details of Yoon's trip; RECASTS lead; ADDS photo)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, Sept. 15 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol will hold his first-ever summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in New York next week on a trip that will include his attendance at the U.N. General Assembly and a separate meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, his office said Thursday.

The meeting with Kishida will mark the first summit between the two countries in nearly three years since the last meeting in December 2019 and raises hope for improving relations frayed badly over wartime forced labor and other issues related to Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

President Yoon Suk-yeol arrives for work at the presidential office in Seoul on Sept. 15, 2022. (Yonhap)

Yoon is set to attend the U.N. gathering on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of a three-nation tour that will also take him to London for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and Canada for a summit with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Deputy national security adviser Kim Tae-hyo said at a press briefing that the summits with Biden and Kishida have been agreed upon, and will be held on either day in New York, though the exact times have yet to be fixed.

The Yoon-Kishida meeting will be watched closely, as the two countries have been locked in a protracted row over disputes stemming from Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

The issue of compensation for Korean forced labor victims is being handled by Seoul in line with its "own process," and opinions are being "privately" exchanged with Tokyo, making it unnecessary for the two leaders to "check" on it when they meet, a presidential official said.

The agenda for the talks has not been predetermined, but both sides "gladly agreed" to the meeting, the official added.

With Biden, Yoon is expected to discuss the implementation of agreements reached during their first summit in Seoul in May.

Aside from the U.N. gathering and the bilateral summits, Yoon is scheduled to attend a host of other events during his seven-day tour.

On Sunday, Yoon will attend a reception hosted by King Charles III where he will express his condolences over the Queen's death and mingle with other foreign leaders.

Kim said Yoon could also make visits to a Korean War memorial to honor the 56,000 British troops that fought alongside South Korea during the 1950-53 conflict and Westminster Hall, where the Queen lies in state.

On Monday, the president will attend the state funeral of the Queen at Westminster Abbey and then head to New York.

Yoon will make his first address to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday as the 10th of 185 state leaders scheduled to speak during the session.

The keynote address will likely outline Yoon's vision for increasing global solidarity with nations that share and respect the values of freedom.

Later that day, Yoon plans to meet with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to discuss North Korea and other key regional and international issues, Kim said.

Other items on the president's New York itinerary include meetings with businesspeople, academics and Korean residents. On Wednesday, Yoon will attend a reception hosted by Biden at the American Museum of Natural History.

On the third and final leg of his trip, the president will fly to Canada next Thursday, a country that sent 27,000 troops to fight alongside South Korea in the Korean War and shares values related to a liberal democracy and human rights, Kim said.

Yoon will stop first in Toronto to meet with world-famed scholars on artificial intelligence and exchange opinions on expanding cooperation between South Korea and Canada. The president will then meet with Korean residents in the city.

From Toronto, Yoon will head to Ottawa on Friday for a summit with Trudeau and discuss ways to deepen the bilateral strategic partnership ahead of the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties next year.

Canada is a key producer of core minerals used in the production of electric vehicle batteries, with South Korean businesses planning large-scale investments in Canada's battery sector, Kim said.

Yoon will return home Sept. 24.

Deputy national security adviser Kim Tae-hyo briefs reporters on President Yoon Suk-yeol's upcoming trip to Britain, the United States and Canada, at the presidential office in Seoul on Sept. 15, 2022. (Yonhap)



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