South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun is not considering a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi during the ASEAN-plus-three summit next month in Malaysia, according to the South Korean foreign minister on Wednesday.
"President Roh is not considering any meeting with (Japanese) Prime Minister Koizumi," South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon said during his weekly news briefing earlier in the day.
But the South Korean top diplomat said he may exchange views on history issue with his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso on the sidelines of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)- plus-three summit meeting in Kuala Lumpur in mid-December.
"In the case of Foreign Minister Aso, I will be able to exchange history views naturally and deliver the government's position," Ban said.
"I plan to say that the Japanese foreign minister's prudent attitude toward such an issue will be helpful to South Korea-Japan relations," he added.
However, Ban said nothing has been decided on whether he will meet with Aso. "I don't even know whether he will accompany Prime Minister Koizumi (to the upcoming summit)," he said.
South Korea-Japan relations have been strained this year due to history and territory disputes.
On Oct. 17, Koizumi paid his fifth visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 2.5 million Japanese war dead including the Class A criminals of World War II.
Roh and Koizumi held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in South Korea's second largest city of Busan earlier this month.
In the meeting, Roh made a protest to Koizumi's shrine visit. The two leaders failed to improve the Seoul-Tokyo strained relations in the meeting.