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Korea, Japan to hold vice ministerial-level talks in Seoul Updated: 2014-03-11 14:33:44 KST


Amid souring ties between South Korea and Japan, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki will arrive in Seoul Wednesday for talks with his South Korean counterpart Cho Tae-yong.
Seoul's foreign ministry says the two sides will exchange views on a range of issues with no fixed agenda, but the timing of the visit is notable.
It comes just days after Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se called on Japan at a UN session to take responsibility for its sexual enslavement of women in the early 20th century.
Roughly 200-thousand women, mostly Korean, were forced to serve the Japanese military during the Second World War and many are still waiting for a heartfelt apology from Japan.
The United States has been urging the two neighbors to put history behind them and to mend ties, concerned the intensifying friction will affect their trilateral alliance, which is key for countering North Korean threats and keeping an increasingly assertive China in check.
Japanese broadcaster TBS reported Monday the U.S. government expressed strong concern about Tokyo's move to review a landmark statement that acknowledges its forced sexual enslavement of women.
The Kono statement, which was issued in 1993, was based on testimony from 16 Korean women.
The Japanese government is now questioning the validity of the testimony.
In April, U.S. President Barack Obama will try to resolve the diplomatic row when he visits Seoul and Tokyo for summit talks.
Ahead of President Obama's trip, the three leaders will meet at the end of this month in The Hague for the Nuclear Security Summit.
While some point to the possibility of a trilateral summit, the chances of the two neighbors shaking hands are slim.
The South Korean leader has made it perfectly clear she will not sit down with a leader who fails to acknowledge his country's historic wrongdoing.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.

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