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S. Korean PM to meet ex-Japanese minister to discuss diplomatic tensions

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon plans to meet with a former Japanese chief Cabinet secretary to discuss bilateral tensions sparked by Tokyo's export curbs against Seoul, officials said Friday.

Takeo Kawamura of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will make a four-day visit to South Korea starting Saturday amid heightened tensions over Japan's trade restrictions. He is a senior member of the Japan-South Korea Parliamentarians' Union, a group of lawmakers of both nations to promote better ties.

"The meeting is planned, but we cannot publicly disclose the specifics, including the date and location," an official at Lee's office said.

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (Yonhap)
South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (Yonhap)

Diplomatic tensions between Seoul and Tokyo have increased since Japan imposed curbs on exports of key high-tech materials to South Korea in July in apparent retaliation over Korea's top court rulings on Japan's wartime forced labor.

South Korea decided last week not to extend a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan amid the trade spat.

Kawamura plans to attend a cultural-exchange event between Seoul and Tokyo. On Monday, he will also meet Rep. Kang Chang-il, who heads the Korean side of the lawmakers group. (Yonhap)