Seoul Won't Renegotiate Sex Slaves Deal with Tokyo
13 January, 2018, 01:45 | Author: Kim Reid
According to Moon, the issue can be completely resolved when Japan accepts the truth and makes an apology to the victims.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has urged Japan to make a "heartfelt apology" to the women who were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese colonial forces.
The task force concluded that much of the negotiation process, driven by the past Park Geun-hye administration, concealed major concessions made to Tokyo and didn't take heed to the victims' opinions.
The Korean Foreign Ministry launched a nine-member task force at the end of July comprised of foreign affairs officials and experts in Korea-Japan relations, worldwide law and human rights. "It is also important to deal with Korea's relationship with Japan carefully".
Seoul said this week that it would not seek to renegotiate the deal, as it had been agreed by both Tokyo and the previous South Korean government.
Kang also revealed that Seoul will put aside 8.9 million USA dollars to help the victims rather than use the equivalent amount offered by Tokyo in the 2015 deal as a compensation fund - as for the money from Tokyo, they plan to have further discussions on what to do with it. Seoul also called on Tokyo to make efforts of their own accord to help ease the victims' suffering, and give them a honest, voluntary apology.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha intimated a day earlier that Tokyo should do more to atone for its past wartime crimes involving "comfort women", although maintained that Seoul would not seek to renegotiate a bilateral deal on the issue made two years ago. He further said the agreement was "unquestionably a crucial foundation [for bilateral relations] in Japan and South Korea's cooperation in several areas, including responding to the North Korean threat".
But now Seoul's foreign minister Kang Kyung-Wha has said it was an "undeniable fact" that both governments had formally endorsed it.
Moon's displeasure with the agreement has angered Japan.
"Comfort women" is a euphemism for those who were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers before and during World War II.
The South Korean government, in announcing the new policy, has not requested a renegotiation of the accord.
"We will also set aside money that will replace the 1 billion yen that the Japanese government gave under the deal and have consultations with Japan on how to handle the (existing) fund going forward".
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South Korea has said that it will take a "two-track" approach in which it will approach the historical issue separately from diplomatic and economic relations.
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