Foreign Ministers of Korea, Japan Hold Talks in Seoul
It was their second face-to-face meeting since Japan named its new foreign minister last month.
Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and his visiting counterpart Koichiro Gemba fine-tuned details of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's two-day state visit to Seoul starting October 18th, including the summit with Korean President Lee Myung-bak scheduled for the 19th.
Both foreign ministers pledged to consult closely on Tokyo returning volumes of Korea's ancient royal texts looted during Japan's colonial period, and pressuring North Korea to meet denuclearization requirements laid out by South Korea, Japan and the US, before re-engaging in the six-party dialogue.
The ministers then addressed some controversial issues like the compensation of "comfort women", who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during the second World War.
The issue came under the limelight after Seoul was ruled to have violated the constitution by not exercising enough diplomacy.
[Interview : Kim Sung-hwan, Korean Foreign Minister] "I once again called for bilateral talks on the claims agreement and urged Japan to respond with sincerity. The issue is humanitarian and concerns women's rights, with the average age of victims having reached 86-years-old."
Tokyo has implicitly turned down Korea's previous proposals for dialogue, by not giving an official response.
The Japanese government argues that it had already paid all its dues in 1965 through a compensation agreement.
[Interview : Koichiro Gemba, Japanese Foreign Minister] "Minister Kim raised the issue during the discussion. Japan has consistently expressed its position on the claims agreement, and so I'm not going to reiterate it."
Looking ahead, the two neighbors did agree to keep engaging in dialogues to resolve issues from the past and strengthen their partnership in the future.
[Reporter : Choi You-sun
email@example.com] "Despite having their second meeting in less than a month, the two ministers were unable to narrow their countries' differences on thorny issues like compensating Korea's wartime sex slaves and Japan's claims over Korea-controlled Dokdo islets.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News."
Reporter : firstname.lastname@example.org