U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell came in Seoul on Tuesday as connections between Seoul and Tokyo, crucial U.S. allies, have dropped into their worst condition in years following South Korea’s top court ordered Japanese companies to compensate malevolent forced laborers this past year.
But South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had an 11-minute conversation on the sidelines of a global summit in Bangkok on Monday, attended by U.S. officials, the very first time they’d met in over a year.
“That is an encouraging sign as we observe the connection improve.”
Seoul chose to not renew the arrangement, called GSOMIA, amid a spiraling political and commerce row, a decision that Washington has criticized.
Stilwell satisfied with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha and Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei-young, however, didn’t respond to a query on if they spoke it.
Both sides were expected to talk about strategies to reinvigorate stalled denuclearisation talks involving the USA and North Korea.
Envoys from the two nations met in Stockholm a month for the first time because U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed in June to reopen discussions following a failed summit in Vietnam in February. However, the assembly fell apart, with the North’s envoy stating the U.S. facet failed to demonstrate flexibility.
They can hold a fresh round of discussions when mid-November since Kim put sights on a second summit with Trump in December, a South Korean lawmaker said on Monday after being briefed by a spy service.
The lackluster discussions also influenced the inter-Korean alliance, postponed following a flurry of summits this past year.
Kim last week pledged to eliminate South Korea’s”shabby,” capitalist” centers in the North’s Mt. Kumgang resort, after a sign of cross-border rapprochement.
The South’s Unification Ministry, which will be in control of inter-Korean ties, said on Wednesday it has suggested sending a delegation of officials in the authorities and firms that constructed the facilities for a review, following the North refused its offer of discussions.