SEOUL - South Korea's President Moon
Jae-in on Monday suggested high-level talks to resolve a deepening political
and trade row with Japan during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe, Moon's spokeswoman said.
The two leaders held an 11-minute discussion on the sidelines of
a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bangkok, the
spokeswoman, Ko Min-jung, said in a statement.
"Both leaders reaffirmed the principle that bilateral
issues should be resolved through dialogue," Ko said, referring to ongoing
working-level talks between the two countries' foreign ministries.
"President Moon offered higher-level talks if necessary,
and Prime Minister Abe suggested seeking a resolution through all available
The meeting comes as bilateral ties have plunged to their lowest
in decades after South Korea's top court last year ordered Japanese firms to
compensate some wartime forced labourers.
As the feud spilled over into trade and security issues, Moon
and Abe have not held a summit for more than a year, though they shook hands at
a Group of 20 leaders' meeting in Japan in June.
Moon sent Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon to Tokyo last month for Emperor
Naruhito's enthronement ceremony with a personal letter calling for efforts to
But there has been little sign of progress, as Abe said the
issue of wartime forced labour was settled by a 1965 treaty that normalised
relations following Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.