S. Korea not discussing talks with Japan: official

By 정주원
  • Published : Feb 16, 2014 - 15:54
  • Updated : Feb 16, 2014 - 15:54

South Korea's presidential office on Sunday reiterated that no communication is under way with Japan on holding a summit, denying a press report from Tokyo.

Japanese daily Nihon Keizai reported on Saturday that Tokyo plans to propose holding a summit in March when South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both attend the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands.

"Tokyo is willing to take steps toward repairing relations with South Korea," the article, posted on its English website, quoted a senior official at Japan's Foreign Ministry as saying.

A Cheong Wa Dae official, speaking on condition of anonymity, flatly denied the report, saying there is "no such discussion related to summit talks when the two sides are not prepared in any way."

"(The Japanese government) is free to make such a request, but the report is groundless," the official told reporters.

Relations between Seoul and Tokyo have been badly strained due to Japan's refusal to address long-running grievances over sexual slavery and other atrocities committed during its 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea. Japan's persistent claims to South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo are another source of major friction.

Ties further deteriorated in recent months after Abe paid respects late last year at a shrine that honors Japan's war dead, including 14 Class A war criminals. Abe was the first Japanese prime minister to visit the shrine in more than seven years.

"In order for Seoul-Tokyo summit talks to be realized, the issues of Dokdo, comfort women and history books need to be first addressed by the two sides," the official added.

Abe has insisted that a summit be held without any preconditions whatsoever. Park, however, has rejected such calls, saying she sees no point in holding talks with him so long as Tokyo fosters incorrect perception of history. (Yonhap News)