South Korea called on Japan Tuesday to show its sincerity by resolving the so-called "comfort women" issue, amid speculation of a possible summit between the two neighbors.
This follows Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent declaration that his government would honor Japan's landmark apology -- dubbed the Kono Statement -- issued in 1993 to the victims of its wartime sexual enslavement.
But South Korean Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Cho Tai-young said words are not enough.
"The sincere measures that we want to see are steps to resolve the issue. We want to see the comfort women issue being resolved."
Abe's recent comments had fueled speculation of a possible meeting with his South Korean counterpart at next week's Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.
But Seoul's foreign ministry flatly denied reports that it had begun fine-tuning the details of such a meeting.
Since taking office last year, President Park Geun-hye has refused to sit down with Abe, saying she would not meet with a leader who fails to acknowledge his country's historical wrongdoings.
The Abe administration has been active in its efforts recently to engage in dialogue with South Korea.
With U.S. President Barack Obama set to visit the two countries in April, Washington has been calling on Tokyo to mend ties with Seoul, suggesting it may have been pressure rather than sincerity that drove Abe toward his change in position.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.
At a parliamentary meeting on Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described Korea as Japan's most important neighbor that shares his country's basic values and strategic interests.
Abe, in particular, hinted that he is willing to hold talks with President Park on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague next week.