South Korean spy chief Park jie-Won has proposed that a summit should be held between the leaders of Japan, the United States, North Korea and South Korea during the rearranged Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Park was speaking during a trip to Japan, his first as part of his role as head of the country’s National Intelligence Service, as reported by the Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
Park suggested the summit during a meeting yesterday with new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, when he spoke of South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s willingness to normalise ties with Japan.
“The Olympics could provide a chance to resolve the bilateral issue of forced labour and regional issues including North Korea’s nuclear programmes and Japanese abductees,” Park was quoted as saying by Chosun Ilbo.
Park’s trip to Japan took place as part of efforts to ease relations strained by a feud over compensation for Koreans forced to work for Japanese firms during its colonial rule between 1910 and 1945.
Yonhap News Agency reported Park as saying that both Moon and Suga “are strongly willing to resolve current issues.”
Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato did not comment specifically on the summit suggestion but said Suga told Park that cooperation between Japan, South Korea and the United States was essential in dealing with North Korea.
Kato cited Suga as demanding that South Korea “create an opportunity to restore healthy relations between Japan and South Korea, which have been in a very severe situation.”
Earlier this month, Suga suggested Tokyo 2020 could be a “good opportunity” to hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Similarly, United States national security advisor Robert O’Brien suggested last month the Games could be a potential opportunity for talks between the US, Japan and North Korea.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been rescheduled to 2021 owing to the coronavirus pandemic, and are scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8.
If any summit does take place during Tokyo 2020 and involve the President of the US, it would likely feature Joe Biden, the country’s President elect.
Biden is projected to defeat Donald Trump in the country’s Presidential election, although the final result is not yet known with Trump refusing to concede defeat and claiming he will launch legal challenges against the election process.