S Korea, Japan may hold strategic dialogue

Updated: 2014-08-27 10:41


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SEOUL - South Korea and Japan are likely to hold a vice ministerial-level strategic dialogue in the foreseeable future, which had yet to be held under the Park Geun- hye government, Yonhap News Agency reported citing government officials.

A senior Seoul government official was quoted as saying that the two countries "are consulting on schedules for the vice ministerial-level strategic dialogue." Another official said " only left was an agreement on a dialogue date."

The strategic dialogue between Seoul and Tokyo, which was first held in 2005 for a comprehensive discussion on regional and global issues, has been suspended since January 2013.

The Park Geun-hye administration, which was launched in February 2013, sought to hold the senior-level dialogue in December 2013, but it failed to be held as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine ahead of the scheduled dialogue.

Abe's visit stirred strong backlashes from neighboring countries, such as South Korea and China, as the shrine is a symbol of Japan's past militarism and reflects the Abe cabinet's attempt to whitewash its wartime aggression. The shrine honors 14 Class-A war criminals along with other war dead.

The frosty ties lasted between the two countries as Japan kept provoking South Korea with territorial disputes and the wrong perception of history. Abe sent an offering to the shrine on Aug. 15, marking the 69th anniversary of the Korean Peninsula's liberation from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

South Korea reportedly proposed to Japan holding the strategic dialogue ahead of the 50th anniversary in 2015 of normalized diplomatic ties between the two countries.

The dialogue was expected to be held next month after director general-level diplomats met next week to discuss issues on comfort women, or Korean women forced into sex slavery for Japanese military brothels during World War.