SKorea's vice foreign minister meet with Japanese counterpart

South Korea 's vice foreign minister said Friday he will travel to Tokyo next month for talks with his Japanese counterpart on the North Korea nuclear issue and other matters. Yu Myung-hwan said he will meet Japanese Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Shotaro Yachi on March 6 for a "strategic dialogue," where they will discuss issues of mutual concern, including stalled multilateral talks on the communist North's nuclear program.

South Korea and Japan are both participants in the six-nation disarmament talks, which also include North Korea , China , Russia and the United States . Relations between the two countries have been strained in recent years over several issues, including Japanese school history textbooks that critics say whitewash Japan 's wartime atrocities, and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to a war shrine that honors convicted war criminals.

In December, South Korea canceled a customary meeting with Japan on the sidelines of a regional summit, a snub meant to protest Koizumi's shrine visit in October. South Korea, under Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945, views the annual visits as a sign that Japan hasn't truly repented for its wartime past, despite numerous apologies by its leaders, reports the AP.

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