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Prime Minister Abe to visit South Korea

All national dailies reported on Prime Minister Abe’s plan to visit South Korean to attend the opening ceremony for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and hold bilateral talks with President Moon. Asahi noted that LDP lawmakers are divided over whether Abe should visit South Korea despite the Moon administration’s negative stance on the 2015 comfort women accord. The paper wrote that although the premier said he will urge South Korea to sincerely implement the accord in his talks with President Moon, it remains to be seen whether Abe will be able to achieve concrete results. Yomiuri wrote that although the premier decided to visit South Korea to give priority to trilateral coordination with the United States over North Korea, it remains to be seen whether the visit will help improve ties between Tokyo and Seoul.

 

Nikkei speculated that Abe took the view of the United States into account. The paper claimed that according to a GOJ source, the USG reportedly suggested to the Japanese side that it consider having the prime minister visit South Korea in view of the situation in North Korea. The suggestion was reportedly made following President Trump’s telephone conversation with President Moon on Jan. 10, during which he told the ROK leader that the United States will send a delegation headed by Vice President Pence to the PyeongChang Olympics.

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