No decision made on Tokyo's proposal to hold S. Korea-Japan summit: gov't

SEOUL, Aug. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Tuesday that no decision has been made yet on Tokyo's proposal earlier this week to hold the first summit between the leaders of the two neighboring countries.

"Nothing has been decided in regard to a South Korea-Japan summit meeting," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Cho Tai-young said in a briefing.

According to media reports, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, in a dinner meeting on Monday, delivered a proposal to South Korean Ambassador to Japan Lee Byung-kee that they arrange a meeting between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of international and regional forums scheduled for early September or sometime in autumn.

The South Korean spokesman did not go into further details but indicated that Japan's recent nationalistic actions may affect the country's decision toward the summit proposal.

Japanese political leaders "paid homage at the Yasukuni Shrine on the (South Korea's) Liberation Day ... Our government is paying special attention to the Japanese prime minister's speech given during the memorial service for their war dead," Cho said.

In the speech marking its defeat in World War II on Aug. 15, Abe omitted speaking about the country's remorse for its past aggression, breaking with the previous leaders' custom of expressing regrets on the day that South Korea celebrates as the Day of Liberation from Japan's 36-year colonial rule in the first half of the 20th century.

Since taking office in February, President Park held summit meetings with U.S. President Barack Obama and China's President Xi Jinping, but she bypassed Japan altogether amid frosty bilateral relations. In the past, a new president sworn into office has met with Japan's prime minister following a state visit to Washington.

The nationalistic Abe administration's repeated attempts to lay claims to Dokdo, the South Korean easternmost islets, and its attempts to whitewash its colonial past and war atrocities recently fueled tensions between the former war adversaries.

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