Japan's Abe: better relations with South Korea

March 25, 2014
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama, right, attend the opening session of the Nuclear Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, on Monday, March 24, 2014. Obama gathered with world leaders in a day of delicate diplomacy, as he sought to rally the international community Monday around efforts to isolate Russia following its incursion into Ukraine. Nuclear terrorism was the official topic as Obama and other world leaders streamed in to a convention center in The Hague for a two-day nuclear summit. But the real focus was on a hurriedly scheduled meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized economies to address the crisis in Ukraine on the sidelines of the nuclear summit. (AP Photo/Yves Herman, Pool)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he hopes a meeting with his U.S. and South Korean counterparts on North Korea will mark a turning point in Japan's relations with South Korea.

Diplomatic ties between Asia's two wealthiest democracies have been badly strained due to South Korea's lingering resentment over Japanese misconduct in World War II. That worsened after Abe's December visit to a major shrine that honors Japanese war dead.

At a news conference on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in The Hague, Abe said, "I hope to make this the first step toward a future-oriented relationship."

Tuesday's meeting between Abe and South Korea's Park Geun-hye will be the first time the two leaders have met in person.