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MOFA website makes no mention of latest Japan-ROK “conversation”

By Kenichi Narusawa

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held bilateral meetings with foreign leaders on the fringes of a summit meeting related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Nov. 4. But the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) makes no mention of Abe’s exchange of words for 10-minute or so with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. This reflects the fact that MOFA does not categorize the conversation as an official meeting, marking a contrast with the South Korea Presidential Blue House, which described the meeting as a “separate talk” and displayed a photo.

 

Abe’s bilateral meetings with the leaders of seven countries, including Thailand, China, and India, are listed on the MOFA website along with his remarks and photos. The website of the Prime Minister’s Office also explains that Abe received a courtesy call from U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and held meetings with seven foreign leaders. But the website does not mention Abe’s conversation with Moon at all.

 

In a press conference on Nov. 6, MOFA Press Secretary Masato Otaka explained: “They shook hands in a waiting room before the ASEAN-plus-3 (summit meeting). They sat down and talked in a natural way. I think we can say it was not an official meeting.”

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