Published: 14:00, November 11, 2020 | Updated: 11:46, June 5, 2023
ROK 'looks at Olympics meet with US, DPRK, Japan'
By Reuters

The Republic of Korea's (ROK) National Intelligence Service Director Park Jie-won is surrounded by journalists after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (not in frame) at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, Japan, on Nov 10, 2020. (JUN HIRATA / KYODO NEWS VIA AP)

SEOUL - The Republic of Korea's (ROK) intelligence chief has proposed a summit of the leaders of the United States, Japan, ROK and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) during the Tokyo Olympics next year, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Park Jie-won made the proposal in Japan, where he arrived on Sunday for his first trip as head of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) aimed at improving relations strained by a feud over compensation for ROK people forced to work for Japanese firms during its 1910-45 colonial rule.

The head of ROK's National Intelligence Service, Park Jie-won, said the proposed summit could take up the issues of DPRK's denuclearization and the abduction of Japanese citizens by DPRK agents, according to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper

Park suggested the summit during a Tuesday meeting with new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, saying it could take up the issues of DPRK's denuclearization and the abduction of Japanese citizens by DPRK agents, the newspaper reported.

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Japan's relations with both DPRK and ROK have long been difficult, largely because of its colonisation of the Korean Peninsula.

Park conveyed ROK President Moon Jae-in's willingness to normalize ties with Japan, for which he said there needed to be some Japanese apology or expression of regret for the wartime forced labor, the newspaper reported.

"The Olympics could provide a chance to resolve the bilateral issue of forced labor and regional issues including North Korea's nuclear programs and Japanese abductees," the newspaper cited Park as saying.

The DPRK is also referred as North Korea, and ROK as South Korea.

ROK's Yonhap news agency reported that Park had suggested that Moon and Suga announce a new declaration to build on a 1998 joint pledge of a "future-oriented relationship".

"Both leaders are strongly willing to resolve current issues," the news agency quoted Park as saying.

READ MORE: Suga seeks 'constructive relationship' in first call to Moon

DPRK leader Kim Jong-un's attendance at such a summit would be a landmark.

The NIS declined to comment on the reports.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not elaborate on the summit suggestion in a briefing but said Suga told Park that cooperation between Japan, ROK and the United States was essential in dealing with DPRK.

Kato cited Suga as demanding that ROK "create an opportunity to restore healthy relations between Japan and South Korea, which have been in a very severe situation".