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Sleepless in Seoul: Waiting for Kishida’s phone call

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If South Korean media reports are any indication, Seoul has been anxiously waiting for a phone call from Fumio Kishida since Oct. 4, when he became Japan’s new prime minister.

Kishida has not called President Moon Jae-in yet, despite having already talked to other world leaders during his first week in office. After 10 days, Moon is reportedly expected to finally get the call he was waiting for on Friday.

No call to Seoul

Some South Korean media reported this episode rather critically. The liberal Hankyoreh newspaper, for example, wrote: “Despite the fact that it has been a week since Prime Minister Fumio Kishida took office on Oct. 4, the first phone meeting between the leaders of South Korea and Japan has not materialized.”

“It seems that priority was given to friendly countries,” the Hankyoreh continued in a rather self-deprecating tone, “that share ‘fundamental values’ such as the U.S., Australia and India, as well as major countries such as China and Russia that need to manage their relations amid tensions, with the Republic of Korea taking a back seat.”

Moon’s goodwill

Moon reportedly sent a congratulatory letter to Kishida on Oct. 4, stating “Let’s work together to develop Japan-South Korea relations in a future-oriented manner. As the two countries share the basic values of democracy and market economy, and are the closest nations geographically and culturally, I hope that we can work together to set an example of cooperation that is typical of neighboring countries.”

The Japanese government neither ignored Moon’s........

© The Japan Times

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