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Korea, Japan fail to make progress at vice ministerial-level talks Updated: 2014-03-13 10:00:39 KST

Korea, Japan fail to make progress at vice ministerial-level talks

After three hours of talks in Seoul on Wednesday, the vice foreign ministers from South Korea and Japan failed to make much progress on improving their frayed ties.
South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong stressed that Japan should refrain from revising history and work towards restoring trust by resolving the unsettled issue of its wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women.
In response, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki said his government maintains the historical perceptions of Japan's previous administrations.
Tensions are high between the two neighbors.
Seoul feels Tokyo has never officially compensated the so-called "comfort women" who were forced into sexual slavery during the Second World War.
To this day, Japanese politicians consistently make negative comments about the elderly victims.
The diplomatic row has taken its toll on the South Korean public's perception of Japan.

"Public sentiment on Japan is so low that a recent poll released by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies shows that South Koreans perceive Japan as a bigger threat than North Korea."

According to the Asan poll, more than 65 percent of the South Korean public feel threatened by Japan, larger than the 60 percent of the population that fear North Korea.
The figure reflects Seoul's overall consensus on Tokyo.

"That, I'm sure coincides with all the statements about comfort women, the increasing tension that Japan is playing towards Dokdo, so all these are driving up the threat perceptions."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is reportedly pushing to hold his first summit with his South Korean counterpart.
But President Park Geun-hye is insistent she will not sit down with a leader who fails to acknowledge his country's historical wrongdoings.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.
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