Abe meets S. Korean premier amid row over trade, history

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TOKYO (AP) — Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has held talks with South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon in the first high-level meeting since relations nosedived over a trade and history row.

Lee handed Abe a letter from South Korean President Moon Jae-in at Thursday's talks. Lee, known as a Japan expert, attended Emperor Naruhito's enthronement ceremony Tuesday and was expected to propose improving ties.

The meeting is closely monitored for signs of a thaw between the two countries. Their relations worsened when Japan in July tightened export controls on key high-tech materials used by South Korean manufacturers. Seoul called it retaliation for its courts ordering Japanese companies to compensate Korean laborers for abusing them during Japan's 1910-1945 colonization.

Japan maintains all compensation issues were settled under the 1965 bilateral treaty.

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