U.S. welcomes efforts to improve ties between S. Korea, Japan: State Dept.

The United States welcomes the upcoming trip to Japan by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol for a bilateral summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, a state department spokesperson said Tuesday.

The spokesperson, Ned Price, also emphasized the importance of bilateral cooperation between Seoul and Tokyo in dealing with various regional challenges, including the threat posed by North Korea.

"We very much welcome the upcoming meeting between the leader of the ROK and the prime minister of Japan," Price told a telephonic press briefing, referring to South Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.

Yoon is set to embark on a two-day visit to Tokyo on Thursday (Korea time), marking the first trip to Japan by a South Korean president for a bilateral summit since 2011.

The upcoming Yoon-Kishida summit comes after South Korea announced plans to set up a private fund that will compensate Korean workers forced into labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea, one of several thorny historical issues that have long been a source of dispute between the countries.

"We encourage the ROK and Japan to build on this step, to continue to advance those bilateral relations, and the meeting between the president of South Korea and the prime minister of Japan will be a tangible manifestation of the efforts on the part of these two staunch allies of the United States," said Price.

The department spokesperson highlighted the importance of cooperation between the two U.S. allies.

"We applaud those efforts because we always appreciate seeing our allies working collectively and constructively with one another, but also because, in this case, the three of us have what is to us, and we think to both the ROK and Japan, an especially important trilateral relationship," he said.

"It is a trilateral relationship that in some ways allows us to be all that more effective when it comes to the core challenges that we face in the Indo-Pacific and in some ways even beyond," he added.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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