Since the leaders of Korea and Japan in March demonstrated their determination to improve bilateral ties, followed by five rounds of Summits, the once-strained bilateral relations between Korea and Japan have seen significant improvements in all areas.
In the first half of this year, the number of cross-border travelers between the two countries reached approximately 4 million, which has already tripled the number from last year. Furthermore, the Korean dramas “The Glory” and the recently released “Moving” have ranked first on “over-the-top” streaming platforms in Japan, while animated Japanese films such as “Suzume” and “The First Slam Dunk” have secured top spots in the Korean box office rankings.
Korean-Japanese economic ties have also deepened. Resolution of the export control issue in four years has provided momentum to reinvigorate both the Korean manufacturing and Japanese materials and parts industries in the semiconductor and other high-tech sectors. Private-sector exchanges between the countries have been bolstered as well, with representatives of Japan’s three major economic organizations visiting Korea to meet with Korean business leaders.
Korea and Japan also agreed to resume their $10 billion bilateral swap agreement, further improving bilateral cooperation in the financial sector. The agreement was reached during a Finance Ministerial Dialogue with my Japanese counterpart, Shunichi Suzuki, on June 29 in Tokyo, which was resumed after a seven-year hiatus. I found it most meaningful that we had an open and candid conversation, attesting to our genuine commitment to enhancing mutual collaboration.
I am sure that if Korea and Japan move beyond the past toward the future based on our restored bilateral trust, we will be able to generate substantial synergy from our bilateral cooperation. Korea and Japan are close neighbors engaging in historical and cultural exchanges, and like-minded partners who share such universal values as democracy, market economy and human rights. There are indeed countless areas where both countries can collaborate for mutual benefit, including supply chains, energy, and cutting-edge industries such as semiconductors and batteries, as well as science and technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum technology and biotechnology.
Our steps toward enhancing bilateral economic ties will mark crucial strides for the benefit of future generations. What’s more, these steps will serve as a catalyst in achieving peace and prosperity in the Indo- Pacific region, a goal in line with the spirit of Camp David as agreed upon last month by the leaders of South Korea, the United States and Japan.