Biz communities hail Yoon-Kishida summit as ‘turning point’ in bilateral ties

South Korean business communities Monday hailed last week's summit between President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as a "turning point" in bilateral relations, expressing hope for Kishida's return visit to Seoul soon.

The summit, which came days after Seoul's announcement on plans to resolve the issue of compensating Korean victims of Japan's wartime forced labor, signaled a thaw in bilateral ties that have remained badly frayed over historical and other thorny issues stemming from Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-45.

The two countries also agreed to begin the process of removing retaliatory trade measures they have taken against each other, including Japan's export controls of key industrial materials vital to South Korea's tech industry.

But the summit outcome has come under strong criticism from the liberal bloc, with the opposition party denouncing it as "submissive diplomacy" that chose to overlook the past.

"President Yoon Suk Yeol's visit to Japan has set a turning point for improving bilateral relations, and we welcome that it has laid the foundation for economic cooperation between Korea and Japan," a joint statement by six business lobbies read.

"The summit is considered very timely, as it was held at a time when there is an increasing need for cooperation due to the rapidly changing global political and economic environment, such as intensifying global strategic competition, the reshaping of supply chains and evolving North Korean nuclear threats," the statement said.

The business circle said the summit will help further expand cooperation in trade and investment, as "unnecessary trade obstacles" have been removed.

"We ask the two governments to make consistent efforts to build mutual trust and help expand economic cooperation, and we hope that Prime Minister Kishida will visit Korea at an early date," it said.

The statement was jointly released by the Federation of Korean Industries, the Korean Chamber of Commerce, the Korea International Trade Association, the Korea Federation of SMEs, the Korea Enterprises Federation and the Federation of Middle Market Enterprises of Korea.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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