Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: South Korea kick-starts diplomacy for reboot with Japan

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol is preparing to kick diplomacy with Japan into high gear with a new ambassador and a planned trip by his top diplomat after being buoyed by a landslide victory in local elections last week. South Korea’s regional elections on June 1 served as the first major test of public support for the new administration, which took control roughly a month ago. Yoon’s People’s Power Party won 12 out of 17 mayoral and gubernatorial races that day. Still, the blow to the progressive opposition, which traditionally has taken a tough line on Japan, is a boon for Yoon’s foreign policy goals. (https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Japan-South-Korea-rift/South-Korea-s-Yoon-kick-starts-diplomacy-for-reboot-with-Japan) Yoon met with U.S. President Joe Biden on May 21 in Seoul shortly after taking office, where they reaffirmed the importance of the alliance between Washington and Seoul. He considers thawing ties with Japan as his next diplomatic priority. Foreign Minister Park Jin is making final preparations to visit Japan late this month. Yoon is looking to attend the NATO summit in Spain starting June 29, raising the possibility of a meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida there should he also attend. High-ranking officials from the U.S., South Korea and Japan have been in talks since May.

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