Korean, Japanese FMs vow cooperation on N. Korea

A shopper picks up a pack of U.S. beef at a wholesale store in Seoul

Moon is set to meet the North Korean leader on April 27, which is expected to be followed by a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim in May or early June.

"With preparations underway for South Korea and the United States' summits with North Korea, which could serve as a major turning point in attaining denuclearization, (we) hope for cooperation to achieve the two countries' shared goal of peacefully resolving the North's nuclear issue and establishing peace", Kang said.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono met in Seoul.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for efforts to increase cooperation between his country and Japan on Wednesday, calling it a necessary step to ensure success in his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Kono conveyed that Japan will "maintain pressure on North Korea until it shows its words as action on its commitment to denuclearize".

Since its foundation in 2006, the thinktank, which runs the 38 North website specialising in North Korean affairs (which will continue to operate), has received 2 billion won (£1.3 million) from the South Korean government annually through the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP), the Korea Times reported. Kono had complained about a plan by South Korean lawmakers to pay a symbolic visit to Dokdo.

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He was referring to Japanese citizens abducted by the North's agents in the 1970s and 1980s in a bid to train spies in Japanese language and customs before overseas missions. The U.S. -North Korea summit will be the first of its kind in history.

South Korea and Japan have also locked horns over Seoul-controlled islets in the sea between the two countries called Dokdo in the South and Takeshima in Japan.

Tokyo has found itself forced to rely on the USA and South Korea to tackle its concerns regarding the North, which past year test-fired several missiles that flew over Japan, sparking security fears.

The two envoys, according to Seoul's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized building a future-oriented bilateral relationship along with joint coordination and communication among Seoul, Tokyo and Washington on how to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.

Mr Moon said last month that Japan cannot unilaterally declare the wartime issue "over", while Japan has said any attempt to modify or scrap the deal, signed by Mr Moon's predecessor Park Geun Hye, could hurt relations.

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