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An official in Seoul mentioned Moon’s private letter congratulated Japan on the new imperial era of Reiwa and wished for an improvement in bilateral ties. Abe expressed his gratitude for the letter, according to South Korea’s 1st vice foreign minister, Cho Sei-yong, who spoke in a tv briefing just after the meeting ended.

Cho mentioned Lee and Abe agreed the two nations ought to not leave their strained ties as-is and that coordination bilaterally and with Washington was vital. Lee referred to as for advertising diverse communication and exchanges to attempt to resolve their frayed ties, Cho mentioned.

Abe told Lee that such cooperation is important as they face North Korean nuclear and missile threats, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry. Abe mentioned the existing strained relations ought to be mended, but Seoul ought to take the 1st step.

The meeting was closely monitored for indicators of a thaw, but tiny progress was apparent except an agreement to retain speaking.

Lee, who is recognized as a Japan specialist, didn’t disclose a lot more particulars about the talks as he left Abe’s workplace. “I do not know,” Lee told reporters.

Relations have worsened given that Japan in July tightened export controls on important higher-tech supplies utilised by South Korean suppliers. Tokyo cited unspecified safety issues, but Seoul referred to as it retaliation for its courts ordering Japanese providers to compensate Korean laborers for abusing them for the duration of Japan’s 1910-1945 colonization.

Japan maintains all compensation concerns have been settled beneath the 1965 bilateral treaty.

Abe in his meeting with Lee reiterated Japan’s position that South Korea ought to retain its guarantee, referring to the 1965 agreement.

Linked Press writer Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.

Adhere to Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

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