South Korea, Japan finance ministers to hold first bilateral talks in 7 years

  • South Korea and Japan’s finance ministers will hold a bilateral meeting early in May 23 for the first time in seven years, heralding closer cooperation in economic policy that has been hampered by diplomatic conflict.
  • Regular annual meetings between the two countries’ finance ministers have been suspended since 2016 due to disputes over wartime history.
  • Financial markets will likely pay close attention to whether the finance ministers will discuss resuming a bilateral currency swap arrangement – one that had served as backstop against any potential currency crisis but which expired in Feb 15.
  • This comes after Yoon Suk Yeol’s visit to Japan in Mar 23, the first for a South Korean president in 12 years, as the two neighbors look for common ground in the face of frequent North Korean missile launches, where Japan and South Korea agreed to drop an almost four-year-old trade dispute on high-tech materials on 13 Apr, an emphatic sign they aim to rebuild a relationship strained by history and work together against deepening security threats.

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