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US plays ‘mediator’ paving way for Seoul-Tokyo meet

A top South Korean official is slated to visit Japan this week amid military tensions between Seoul and Tokyo in the Sea of Japan, media reports said Tuesday.

Kim Tae-jin, director general of the North American affairs bureau at Seoul’s Foreign Ministry, will visit Japan “to tour U.N.-flagged military bases in Japan”, Yonhap reported. Kim may also meet his Japanese counterpart.

“There's a possibility of a trilateral session [in Japan during the visit] joined by a representative from the U.S. Forces Japan,” the news agency added. 

The latest development comes after U.S. envoy to Seoul Harry Harris on Monday held closed-door deliberations with South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha in Seoul. 

South Korea and Japan are engaged in a verbal spat after they accused each other of military violations in the Sea of Japan last December. 

A rift emerged between the arch rivals when Seoul accused a Tokyo military jet of a radar lock-on incident. Early this month, a Japanese military plane is reported to have flown close to a South Korean warship with no prior notice.

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