President Park Geun-hye said Wednesday that South Korea and Japan should move toward a new future in the latest call for better ties between the two neighbors.
South Korea and Japan have long been at odds over their shared history, including the Japanese military's sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II.
South Korea has repeatedly pressed Japan to resolve the issue of the elderly Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers during the war. Japan ruled the Korean Peninsula as a colony from 1910-45.
"I think South Korea and Japan should move toward a new future together based on the spirit of a correct recognition of history and friendship and good neighborliness," Park said in a video message to a South Korea-Japan friendship meeting at a Seoul hotel.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a similar call in a separate video message, saying South Korea and Japan are the "most important" neighbors that share strategic interests.
"I would like to further develop relations with South Korea," he said, adding that people-to-people exchanges are important.
Park is set to host the leaders of China and Japan for a trilateral summit in early November.
A trilateral summit has not been held since May 2012 due to tensions over Japan's attempts to whitewash its wartime atrocities and colonial occupation.
It remains to be seen whether Park and Abe will hold their first bilateral summit on the sidelines. Park said last week that the three-way talks could be an opportunity to meet separately with Abe.
However, South Korea recently denounced Japan for Abe's offering to a Tokyo war shrine and urged it to demonstrate by action its humble reflection and repentance.
South Korea and China view the Yasukuni Shrine -- which honors over 2.4 million war dead, including 14 convicted Class-A war criminals -- as a symbol of Japan's past imperialism. Japan controlled much of China in the early part of the 20th century. (Yonhap)