Liancourt rocks

Japan, South Korea plan first formal meeting since islands dispute

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 November, 2012, 3:38am

Japan and South Korea are planning a formal summit later this month, the first meeting since President Lee Myung-Bak angered Tokyo with a surprise visit to a disputed island chain, a report said.

Lee's August visit to the islands, which lie between the two countries and are known by South Korea as the Dokdo Islands and by Japan as the Takeshima Islands, badly damaged relations between Tokyo and Seoul.

The visit also came at a historically significant time - just days before the August 15 anniversary of Japan's second-world-war surrender, which ended its 35-year rule over Korea.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Lee held informal talks in September on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, but have yet to hold a formal summit since the territorial dispute was rekindled.

A one-on-one meeting is being planned for the sidelines of a series of meetings related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Phnom Penh on November 18-20, Kyodo News agency said, citing Japanese government sources.

The two nations have long been at odds over Japan's 1910-1945 occupation of Korea, and they had been working to repair relations in recent years.

Before ties took a dive, Japan and South Korea were on the verge of signing a landmark intelligence-sharing pact.

Japan is also locked in a separate dispute with China over another chain of islands in the East China Sea.