(LEAD) Spy chiefs of S. Korea, Japan meet to discuss N. Korea, bilateral issues: reports

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SEOUL, May 12 (Yonhap) — The intelligence chiefs of South Korea and Japan held a meeting in Tokyo and exchanged views on North Korea and other bilateral issues, Japanese media reports showed Wednesday.

Park Jie-won, head of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS), met with Hiroaki Takizawa, Japan’s cabinet intelligence director, on Tuesday, according to JNN and Kyodo News. Park is in Tokyo for trilateral talks with Takizawa and U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

Park and Takizawa reportedly exchanged views mostly on North Korea and other bilateral issues.

The meeting came after the new U.S. administration of President Joe Biden recently wrapped up its monthslong policy review on the North.

Relations between South Korea and Japan remain frayed over their prolonged row regarding wartime forced labor and sexual slavery issues.

On Wednesday, Park is expected to speak by phone with Toshihiro Nikai, No. 2 of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, local media reports said.

Seoul’s NIS declined to comment on those reports.

Meanwhile, Haines will likely travel to South Korea on Wednesday after attending the trilateral spy chiefs’ meeting, according to Japanese media reports.

She is expected to visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas and arrangements are also being made for her meetings with Moon and Suh Hoon, the president’s national security adviser, they said.

A government source in Seoul said that the U.S. spy chief is likely to arrive at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, late Wednesday and expected to begin her schedule the following day.

Park Jie-won (L), head of South Korea's National Intelligence Service, arrives at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on May 11, 2021, to head for Japan to attend a meeting with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, in this photo captured from Yonhap News TV. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)