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Japan & S. Korea share basic values, Seoul is most important neighbor, Abe says

Japan & S. Korea share basic values, Seoul is most important neighbor, Abe says

South Korea is Japan’s “most important neighbor,” PM Shinzo Abe said on Monday, adding that the two states share basic values. The prime minister took a conciliatory tone toward the country that has been locked in a row with Tokyo for over a year, Reuters reports.

The statement came after South Korean President Moon Jae-in last week proposed the two countries work together to resolve the issue of wartime forced laborers, and called Japan “our closest neighbor.”

Some fence-mending steps have been taken in recent months, including Seoul’s reversal of its decision to scrap an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, and Tokyo’s partial easing of curbs on the export of high-tech materials to South Korea.

“Under an increasingly severe security environment in Northeast Asia, diplomacy with neighboring countries is extremely important,” Abe told parliament in his policy speech. Abe and Moon met in China in December and stressed the need to improve ties, according to officials.