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Japan, S Korea agree to build 'matured' partnership
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Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda (R) shakes hands with visiting South Korean President Lee Myung Bak in Tokyo on Monday, April 21, 2008.(Xinhua/AFP Photo)
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda (R) shakes hands with visiting South Korean President Lee Myung Bak in Tokyo on Monday, April 21, 2008.

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak on Monday held summit talks, during which the two leaders agreed to further improve the bilateral relations and work together to build a "matured" partnership.

At a joint press conference following the 80-minute talks, the two leaders pledged to bring the bilateral ties into a "new era."

According to a joint communique released to press, Fukuda and Lee agreed to strengthen their bilateral cooperation, as well as trilateral cooperation with the United States, on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

They urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to fully and accurately declare its nuclear activities in a prompt manner.

They agreed to open working-level consultations in June for resuming negotiations for an economic partnership agreement.

About historical issues, Lee emphasized the need to "face the past and move toward the future by sharing a vision."

Fukuda and Lee reaffirmed the necessity of having regional cooperation with China and agreed to work for a trilateral summit in Japan later this year.

They also exchanged ideas on global environmental issues, energy security and official development assistance to developing nations, according to Japanese officials.

However, the two leaders did not touch sensitive issues such as territorial dispute and the war-related Yasukuni Shrine, Kyodo News said.

Lee arrived in Tokyo on Sunday evening via the United States for a two-day visit, which is his second and last stop in his first overseas tour after taking office in February.

The visit to Japan is also the first by a South Korean president since Roh Moo Hyun's visit in December 2004.

Japanese officials said Lee's tour will help resume the bilateral top-level "shuttle diplomacy," which was agreed by Japan and South Korea in late 2004, but was suspended due to Japanese former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to the war-related Yasukuni Shrine.

Lee and Fukuda agreed to continue the "shuttle diplomacy" based on reciprocal visits during Fukuda's visit to South Korea for Lee's inauguration ceremony in February.

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