South Korean officials force closure of US-Korea research centre

China moved up to third place in terms of the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry in 2015 overtaking South Korea that fell to fifth place

But the focus will stay on North Korea denuclearization and the objective of complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement, or CVID, of Pyongyang's weapons of mass destruction, according to the report.

Kono said Japan and South Korea must share information and coordinate policy in the run-up to the inter-Korean summit on April 27th and the US-North Korea summit expected to be held after that.

South Korea and Japan yesterday vowed to work closely together on North Korea ahead of the looming inter-Korea summit, but their foreign ministers remained divided over long-standing issues of Japan's wartime crimes and disputed islands. He expressed Japan's hope that the issue can be raised at the upcoming summits, which he said are a "turning point".

It was the first visit to South Korea by a Japanese foreign minister in more than two years.

Tokyo has been a relatively late adopter to the engagement process, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could be the last regional leader to meet with Kim Jong Un.

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Japan has said North Korea abducted at least 17 Japanese citizens to train agents in the Japanese language and culture to spy on South Korea. She emphasized the importance of maintaining the "momentum for dialogue as North Korea has declared it will not conduct any provocations while talks are ongoing". -North summit to produce successful outcomes.

Tokyo has found itself forced to rely on the US and South Korea to tackle its concerns regarding the North, which a year ago test-fired several missiles that flew over Japan, sparking security fears. The two sides plan to draw up a blueprint for a "new partnership" to mark the 20th anniversary of the Korea-Japan joint declaration, and convene a director-general meeting soon to strengthen diplomatic relations, according to the Foreign Ministry. Suh, a member of Moon's special delegation to Pyongyang, visited Tokyo last month to brief the Japanese government on the results of the meeting with the North Korean leader.

However, Dr Gallucci called the move an "intervention on academic freedom" and has said he will send a letter to South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, in protest.

Earlier several ruling and opposition lawmakers announced their plan to visit Dokdo next week.

Kono also asked that South Korea firmly implement a 2015 bilateral agreement on those referred to as comfort women. The Foreign Ministry official said that Kono requested the "faithful implementation" of the deal.

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