Ex-Japan leader conveys Abe’s message to Park

By Kim Yon-se
  • Published : Sept 19, 2014 - 21:08
  • Updated : Sept 19, 2014 - 21:08

A former Japanese leader conveyed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s message to President Park Geun-hye on Friday, an official said, a move that may pave the way for a potential summit between the two neighbors.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori delivered the message to Park during their meeting in the presidential office in Seoul, the official said, though details of the message were not immediately available.

The message came as South Korea and Japan are seeking to repair bilateral relations soured by historical disputes stemming from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
President Park Geun-hye greets former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori at Cheong Wa Dae on Friday. Mori, who was invited to the opening ceremony of the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, delivered a message from Japanese leader Shinzo Abe to Park. (Yonhap)

Park has shunned a summit with Abe, though they met in a trilateral summit with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in the Netherlands in March. It was the first summit between Seoul and Tokyo in nearly two years.

Seoul and Tokyo have long been at odds over Japan’s territorial claims to South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo as well as the issue of elderly South Korean women who were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japan’s World War II soldiers.

South Korea has repeatedly urged Japanese leaders to face up to history and take forward-looking measures for the South Korean sex slaves.

Park and Abe are set to attend the upcoming U.N. General Assembly next week, though it remains unclear whether the two leaders will meet.

In Tokyo, South Korea and Japan held a fresh round of talks on Japan’s sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II.

Lee Sang-deok, director general of the Northeast Asian affairs bureau of the foreign ministry, met his Japanese counterpart,

Junichi Ihara, earlier in the day in their fourth round of talks to discuss the sex slavery issue, according to the foreign ministry.

In April, the two countries agreed to hold a series of monthly meetings on the issue of the former sex slaves, but they skipped the meeting in June due to Japan’s review of its 1993 apology over the issue before resuming talks in July. A meeting that was supposed to be held in August has been delayed to September. (Yonhap)