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(LEAD) Japan's Kishida doing final fine-tuning to invite Yoon to G-7 summit: report

14:09 March 19, 2023

(ATTN: UPDATES with Kishida expressing commitment to shuttle diplomacy)

SEOUL/TOKYO, March 19 (Yonhap) -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is doing final fine-tuning to invite South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to a Group of Seven summit set for Hiroshima in May, a news report said Sunday.

Yoon is expected to be one of the leaders to be invited to the gathering, together with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is also considering inviting Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the paper said.

Japan's Kyodo News agency also reported Friday that Kishida conveyed his intention to invite Yoon to the G-7 summit when the two leaders held summit talks in Tokyo on Thursday.

Yoon was the first South Korean president to visit Japan for a bilateral summit in 12 years.

Relations between Seoul and Tokyo warmed significantly after South Korea announced its decision earlier this month to compensate victims of Japan's wartime forced labor on its own without asking Japan for contributions.

Kishida reaffirmed his commitment to continuing what is dubbed the "shuttle diplomacy" between the two countries, when he and Yoon had an after-summit drink at a popular Tokyo restaurant, Rengatei, on Thursday, people close to the matter said.

The prime minister told Yoon that he hopes the last drink he was having will lead to another drink when he visits South Korea, renewing the commitment to the shuttle diplomacy that refers to the leaders of the two countries visiting each other's nation on a frequent basis, the people said.

Kishida was also quoted as saying that he was "touched" by the resolute and candid attitude Yoon showed when dealing with the issue of forced labor and that he hopes to continue his friendship with Yoon forever.

President Yoon Suk Yeol (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida toast at a restaurant after their summit in Tokyo on March 16, 2023. (Yonhap)



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