Press Conference on the Telephone Talk with Mr. YOON Suk Yeol, President-elect of the Republic of Korea

March 11, 2022
[Provisional Translation]

 (On what was discussed during the telephone meeting with Mr. YOON Suk Yeol, President-elect of the Republic of Korea; on whether or not the issue of former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula or the issue of comfort women arose during the meeting)
I just held a meeting with Mr. YOON Suk Yeol, President-elect of the Republic of Korea (ROK) over the telephone.
I extended my congratulations to him once again and stated that Japan and the ROK are important neighboring countries to each other. I said that now, as the international community is confronted with major changes that will usher in a new era, sound Japan-ROK relations are indispensable in upholding a rule-based international order and ensuring peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and the world. In addition, I underlined the importance of trilateral coordination among Japan, the United States, and the ROK.

I also stated that we must develop Japan-ROK relations based on the foundation of our friendly and cooperative relationship that our countries have built up since we normalized our diplomatic ties in 1965. I conveyed to President-elect Yoon that I look forward to his leadership and I expressed my desire to work closely with him to further improve Japan-ROK relations.
In response, President-elect Yoon stated that he places importance on Japan-ROK relations and that he wants to cooperate with Japan to improve our relations further. Also, Mr. Yoon and I agreed we will work in close cooperation regarding responses to North Korea, including the nuclear and missile issues, notably its recent launches of ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile)-level ballistic missiles, as well as the abductions issue.
You also asked if there was any interchange between us on the comfort women issue or other such matters. This was a diplomatic exchange, so I am providing this information focusing primarily on what I said from my side. The content of this meeting overall is just as I overviewed for you now. I will refrain from stating any details beyond that, as this was a diplomatic exchange.
(On whether or not the Prime Minister is thinking of imposing new sanctions in response to North Korea’s launches of ICBMs)
First, I believe the Ministry of Defense has already made a statement on this matter, but regarding the ballistic missiles launched by North Korea, recently, after conducting an analysis working in close cooperation with the U.S. Government, we arrived at the assessment that they are a new kind of ICBM.
Having been contacted that the United States would announce this assessment, yesterday we convened the National Security Council, where the ministers engaged in a sharing of, and discussion on, our recognition of the situation, and I gave necessary instructions to the ministers.
North Korea’s actions threaten the peace and security of the region and the international community as a whole. This is totally unacceptable. These actions are a clear violation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and I strongly condemn them.
There was also a question concerning sanctions. We wish to consider our future responses in cooperation with the United States and the ROK, taking into account both diplomatic approaches and sanctions. Given this situation, I believe we must continue to maintain our state of high alert while fundamentally reinforcing our defense capacity. I once again feel it is imperative that we realistically examine the matter without excluding any options, taking the perspective of whether or not our preparations are sufficient to defend the lives and livelihoods of the Japanese people.
(On whether or not a face-to-face meeting was discussed during the exchange with President-elect Yoon)
Naturally, we each expressed our desire to meet in person at the earliest possible time and hold discussions. I said this and President-elect Yoon expressed the same to me.

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