South Korean delegation to visit Japan for policy consultation

South Korea’s President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol plans to send a delegation to Japan later this month for policy consultations on North Korea and pending bilateral issues, his transition team said on Sunday.

Led by Rep. Chung Jin-suk of Yoon’s People Power Party, the delegation will visit Tokyo from April 24-28 to meet officials from the Japanese government and legislature as well as those from business circles, media and academia, Yonhap news agency reported, citing the transition team’s spokesperson Bae Hyun-jin.

The seven-member delegation includes Rep. Kim Seok-ki, Yun Duk-min, former head of the foreign ministry-affiliated Korea National Diplomatic Academy, and Park Cheol-hee, a professor at Seoul National University’s Graduate School of International Studies.

“The objective of the delegation is for consultations on North Korea policy and relations between Seoul and Tokyo,” Bae told reporters. “We expect (the visit) to lay the foundation for cooperation on North Korea and for the resolution of pending issues between the two countries.”

Chung, five-term lawmaker and vice National Assembly speaker, is a co-chair of the South Korea-Japan Parliamentary Diplomacy Forum, a group dedicated to improving the two countries’ relations.

Also included in the delegation is Lee Sang-deok, former director-general for Northeast Asian affairs at the foreign ministry who led working-level negotiations with Tokyo for the landmark 2015 deal to address the issue of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery.

Chang Ho-jin, a former ambassador to Cambodia, is another key delegate. He served as a foreign policy secretary in 2012 for then President Lee Myung-bak.

Yoon has stated his focus on building a “future-oriented” partnership with Japan amid a series of thorny issues between the two neighbors over wartime history and trade.

It will be Yoon’s second delegation sent to a foreign country since his election. He dispatched delegates to the US earlier this month, as he is slated to take office on May 10.

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