South Korea said Friday it will resume high-level talks with Japan next week to discuss the Japanese army's sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II following a hiatus in June.
Lee Sang-deok, director general of the Northeast Asian affairs bureau of the foreign ministry, will meet with his Japanese counterpart, Junichi Ihara, on Wednesday in Seoul in their third round of talks to discuss what is commonly called the "comfort women" issue, according to the foreign ministry.
Seoul and Tokyo held such talks in May following their agreement in April to have such a meeting on a monthly basis.
But such talks were suspended last month as Japan announced the results of a review of its landmark 1993 statement acknowledging its wartime sexual enslavement of women for its troops during the war.
The issue of sexual slavery has been a long source of diplomatic tension between the two countries as Japan has rejected Seoul's call to resolve the issue by showing sincerity, including through a formal apology and compensation.
Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mainly from Korea and China, were forced to work at front-line brothels for Japanese soldiers during World War II.
Japan has claimed that all grievances related to its 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula were settled through a 1965 treaty that normalized their bilateral ties.
Almost all of the women have already died, increasing worries that the remaining victims may also pass away before Japan makes atonement. Only 54 victims remain alive in South Korea, with their average age standing at 88. (Yonhap)