Jiji PressSEOUL (Jiji Press) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in, in his New Year’s press conference on Thursday, claimed Japanese politicians are politicizing history issues between the two countries.
The remark came amid souring ties between the East Asian neighbors over the issues of wartime Korean comfort women and requisitioned labor, as well as a recent incident in which a South Korean warship locked its fire-control radar on a Japanese patrol plane.
Moon said that it is not a wise attitude for Japanese politicians to turn history matters into political issues and fuel confrontation.
The president called on the Japanese government to respect South Korean Supreme Court orders for Japanese companies to pay compensation to plaintiffs who were requisitioned by the firms from the Korean Peninsula for work in Japan during World War II. The peninsula was under Japan’s colonial rule then.
Tokyo, for its part, claims that issues related to Japan’s wartime compensation for South Korea were fully resolved under a bilateral agreement the two countries concluded in 1965, along with a basic treaty to normalize diplomatic relations.
But Moon insisted that there remain matters that are left unsettled even after the conclusion of the basic treaty.
The president urged the Japanese government to face the history issues a little more humbly, while stressing that both countries have to sincerely consider how to settle them.
Moon suggested that his government needs time to draw up concrete measures to solve the wartime labor problem, given the ongoing investigation related to the matter.
Meanwhile, he did not mention his government’s response to the radar incident.
In a related development on Thursday, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said at a government meeting that there are views in his country that Japanese leaders have been fanning anti-South Korea sentiment among Japanese people for political purposes, according to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.
While calling for Tokyo’s self-restraint, Lee expressed hopes that the two countries will exercise wisdom together to resolve pending history issues so they can develop forward-looking bilateral ties, the secretariat said.Speech