Published: Wed, January 10, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Tokyo refuses call to do more on 'comfort women' issue

Tokyo refuses call to do more on 'comfort women' issue

The deal was struck under President Park Geun-hye, the predecessor of President Moon Jae-in, but it has been unpopular among the South Korean public as it is perceived by many as unfavorable to South Korea.

"It can not be denied that the 2015 deal was an official agreement reached between the governments of each country, and our government will not demand renegotiation", Kang said in a statement carried by Yonhap News Agency.

In Tokyo, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono repeated his government's call for Seoul to uphold the pact, which he called "final and irreversible".

"While the administration has changed", Kono responded Tuesday, "responsibly implementing" the pact remains a matter of "universal global principle". More than 70% of victims living at the time have claimed their compensation, the Japanese government says.

But, reversing from its earlier demand, the South Korean government said it would no longer seek Tokyo to contribute extra funds and instead use its own money to help the victims. However, Seoul pressed Tokyo to be more honest towards the victims, saying the controversial deal does not solve the problem.

South Korea's top negotiator on North Korea's nuclear issues will visit Washington this week to share assessments on the latest developments involving the North, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

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Kang said there is no denying that the agreement was formal.

South Korea "will urge the Japanese government to take responsible measures over the defective "comfort women" deal in line with the spirit of seriousness and cosmopolitanism", the source was quoted as saying.

Following the review result announcement, President Moon said the 2015 deal can not resolve the "comfort women" issue. To Japan's chagrin, a similar statue went up in front of the consulate in Busan soon after.

He told reporters Friday that Japan will "take all steps necessary", including cooperating with China and Russian Federation, to step up pressure on North Korea so it will give up its nuclear weapons and missile development policies. This suspicion deepens the determination of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga to give no ground on the 2015 deal.

Seoul will not ask Tokyo to renegotiate the 2015 settlement on the issue of Japan's wartime sex slavery.

The announcement came hours after the United States said it has agreed to delay joint military exercises with South Korea until after the Winter Olympics.

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