S. Korea, Japan to hold security talks in Seoul

Updated: 2015-04-14 10:26


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SEOUL - Senior diplomatic and defense officials from South Korea and Japan are set to hold a so-called Two-Plus-Two dialogue on security affairs on Tuesday in Seoul, the South Korean foreign ministry said.

The first such talks in about five years will be led by Lee Sang-deok, chief of the South Korean Foreign Ministry's Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau, and Junichi Ihara, chief of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau.

Deputy director-general-level officials from defense ministries of both countries will join the meeting, the last of which was held in December 2009.

The diplomatic security dialogue came amid renewed tensions between Seoul and Tokyo after Japan approved 18 textbooks last week for middle school students, which distorted history and laid territorial claims to Dokdo islets, called Takeshima in Japan, that lie halfway between the two nations.

Japan has claimed that the rocky outcroppings have been illegally occupied by South Korea, but Seoul said that the islets were the first victim of Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

During the meeting, both sides will exchange views about issues of mutual concern, including a bilateral defense and security cooperation and regional situations, the ministry said.

Local media reported that the South Korean delegates are expected to express its stance, during the meeting, on the scheduled revision of defense cooperation guidelines between Japan and the United States.

The revision, slated for later this month, would allow Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense, meaning that Japanese forces could be sent to the Korean Peninsula in the event of contingencies to help the US forces in South Korea.

About 28,500 US soldiers are stationed here to help deter provocations from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.