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What’s on the table for the Kishida-Yoon summit?

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol are hoping to mend the fraught ties that have defined bilateral relations over the past few years when they meet on Thursday.

Yoon’s two-day visit to Japan will be the first such trip by a South Korean leader in 12 years.

“This visit … will be an important milestone in the improvement of relations between South Korea and Japan which has been promo ted by the Yoon administration since inauguration,” Yoon’s national security adviser, Kim Sung-han, told a briefing on Tuesday.

Here is what is expected to be on the agenda:

‘Shuttle diplocmacy’

Japan and Korea are expected to revive regular visits between the leaders in what has been called “shuttle diplomacy”, according to a Yomiuri daily report citing Japanese government sources.

The last time the leader of either country visited the other’s country was more than a decade ago, when then-President Lee Myung Bak travelled to Japan in 2011 before heading to remote islands that both nations claim as their own.

Relations subsequently deteriorated.

Kishida is considering visiting South Korea as early as this summer, Kyodo has reported.

Defence cooperation

Yoon said that he expects to “invigorate” security cooperation, including the intelligence-sharing General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) pact, which Seoul threatened to pull out of in 2019, in several written interviews with international media published on Tuesday.

The two countries and the United States are preparing to meet next month to discuss the possibility of setting up an information-sharing framework that would allow Japan and South Korea to share information on North Korean ballistic missile launches in real time, a Japanese defence ministry official told Reuters.

G7 invitation 

Kishida may extend an invitation to Yoon to attend the G7 summit set to take place in Hiroshima in May, several media reported.

In 2008, then-South Korean President Lee Myung-bak attended outreach events of the Group of Eight summit in Toyako, Hokkaido.

Lifting the 2019 restrictions

The two leaders could confirm their countries’ intention to resolve Japan’s high-tech material export curbs against South Korea.

South Korea’s presidential office said on Tuesday that the two countries were discussing the matter and that it expected it to be resolved “in due time”.

Seoul is preparing to normalise its involvement in GSOMIA, and will time the announcement for that of the lifting of the curbs, Jiji news agency said without clarifying its sources.

Japan tightened restrictions on the export of high-tech semiconductor materials to South Korea in 2019 as a row over how to compensate wartime labourers flared.

Last week, on the same day Seoul announced its plan to resolve the forced labour dispute, Tokyo said it would hold talks with Seoul about potentially lifting the 2019 restrictions. Tokyo has maintained that the curbs are unrelated to the labour issue.

Currency swap

The Japan-South Korea currency swap arrangement, once a symbol of bilateral financial cooperation, expired in February 2015 and Seoul has indicated its desire to restore it.

Talks to restart it became strained as relations worsened amid a row over girls and women forced to work in Japan’s wartime brothels.

READ MORE: South Korea plan will help ‘restore healthy ties’: Japan FM

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