A Japanese politician who drew fire for calling "comfort women" a wartime necessity has been forced to apologise for suggesting US soldiers in Okinawa visit brothels to vent their violent frustrations.
S. Korea, Indonesia to launch free trade talks
Negotiators will meet in Jakarta on Thursday to discuss the scope and coverage of the pact and other issues, according to the trade ministry.
South Korea already has a free trade agreement with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that includes Indonesia.
"We need a separate bilateral pact with Indonesia to expand the volume of trade and the scope of openness," a ministry official told AFP.
South Korea and Indonesia held three rounds of preliminary talks last year. In March President Lee Myung-Bak and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced the official launch of the talks.
Indonesia is South Korea's eighth-largest trading partner with bilateral trade worth $30.7 billion in 2011.
South Korea's shipments to Indonesia rose 52 percent from a year earlier to $13.56 billion last year.
Export-dependent South Korea has already signed free trade deals with the United States, the European Union, India and several other nations.
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