Published : 2013-09-16 11:01
Updated : 2013-09-16 11:01
South Korea is positively considering raising the issue of Japan's wartime sexual slavery issue during the United Nations General Assembly meeting next week, sources here said Monday.
The foreign ministry is discussing the plan to cover Japan's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women in Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se's address to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 27, said the sources on condition of anonymity.
The plan is part of Seoul's efforts to turn up the heat on Japan to settle the compensation demand by South Korean women who were forced to serve at front-line brothels during World War II.
Seoul has repeatedly called on Japan to come to the negotiating table to discuss ways to resolve the claims by the former sexually enslaved women, euphemistically called "comfort women." The neighbor has not responded to the calls.
The foreign ministry has not determined the wording of the address, but it is expected to rekindle the international community's attention on the need to call for Japan's compensation and apology over its past wartime atrocities.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled for an address in the same U.N. General Assembly session prior to the South Korean minister's, and he will reportedly focus on Japan's efforts to help sexually assaulted women in the world's troubled areas.
Critics and the media in South Korea say that it is hypocritical for Japan to push for such a cause when it is turning a blind eye on the compensation demand over its sexual atrocities.
"There is a high possibility of the comfort women issue being included in the address," one of the government sources said.
This would be the second time South Korea has raised the comfort women issue in a U.N. General Assembly speech. Former Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan made an indirect reference to the issue during his address to the U.N. meeting in September last year.
Up to 200,000 women, including many Koreans, were coerced into sex slavery for the Japanese army during the war when the Korean Peninsula was a Japanese colony, according to historians.
Japan has consistently denied its liability for the issue, claiming that the 1965 treaty between the two countries cleared it of any further responsibility. Under the treaty, the two countries established diplomatic ties and agreed to absolve Japan of its wrongdoings against South Korean individuals who suffered and were enslaved under Japan's colonial rule from 1910-45. (Yonhap news)