Regular finance ministers’ meetings between Korea and Japan, which have been suspended due to diplomatic tensions including the Dokdo issue since November 2012, will be resumed.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance Choi Kyung-hwan met Taro Aso, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in Japan, during his visit to Washington D.C., U.S., to attend the annual general meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB). At this meeting, the two finance ministers reached a mutual agreement to hold a Korea-Japan finance ministers’ meeting in Tokyo, Japan at the earliest possible date.
Korea-Japan finance ministers’ meetings have been held in both Korea and Japan alternately every year since 2006. There have been a total five meetings before 2012. However, as the relationship between Korea and Japan became strained due to some political issues including the shrine tributes of Japan and the Dokdo issue, finance ministers’ meetings between the two countries have been suspended since Nov. 2012 when Minister Park Jae-wan and Minister of Finance Koriki Jojima met.
At the meeting in Washington D.C., Deputy Prime Minister Choi introduced recent economic trends and policy directions of the Korean government. Deputy Prime Minister Aso also explained major economic issues in Japan, including the increase in the consumption tax. In addition, the two finance ministers exchanged their opinions on economic outlooks of the world and their two countries, financial cooperative strategies within the region, G20 (20 major countries), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) groups.
Prior to the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Choi pointed out that political and economic issues have to be separated in the relationship between Korea and Japan. He said at the correspondent meeting, “Due to political reasons, the relationship between Korea and Japan is stalled. In terms of separating politics and economics, while the two countries make efforts to improve their political relationship, some extent of economic cooperation has to be done, if necessary and critical. And I plan to deliver this message at the meeting.”