Korea to give advance briefing to Japan ahead of review of their comfort women deal: FM

By Yonhap
  • Published : Dec 20, 2017 - 11:42
  • Updated : Dec 20, 2017 - 11:42

TOKYO -- South Korea will give an advance briefing to Japan on the result of Seoul's investigation of a controversial history dispute settlement between the countries before its official release next week, the South Korean foreign minister said Wednesday.

"(South Korea) will give details to the Japanese side before the announcement of the result of a task force review of the South Korea-Japan deal on comfort women mobilized by Japanese soldiers. I think it's diplomatic etiquette," Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told a group of South Korean correspondents in Japan.

She said the South Korean government will define its own stance on the bilateral agreement separately of the review result.

Following a five-month review of the 2015 deal to end a long-standing feud over Japan's World War II mobilization of Korean women as sex workers for front line Japanese soldiers, the foreign ministerial task force is set to unveil the result on Dec. 27.


"The result would include the processes leading up to the deal's signing and assessment of its terms, but wouldn't include any policy recommendation on the fate of the deal," Kang said.

The final decision will be up to the government which will search for further input from the victims, civic groups and scholars, she explained.

The announcement next week is likely to be another test of the resilience of the South Korea-Japan relationship as the review result would reportedly criticize the 2015 deal signed under the administration of impeached President Park Geun-hye. Japan has repeatedly called for Seoul's compliance with the deal.

Moon has denounced the agreement as falling short of public support. Some of the dozens of surviving victims have also dismissed the deal as insincere.

"The government's stance regarding the South Korea-Japan agreement is that (it should be made) to satisfy the victims," Kang noted. "At the same time, it's also urgent to come up with a position that could overcome (any tension) in the South Korea-Japan relationship."

A successful resolution of this issue would be a big step forward in the relationship, the foreign minister also added. "Both of the foreign ministries share the view that they will manage the situation stably to contain any amplification of the difficulty."

Kang is on a two-day visit to Japan till Wednesday. A day earlier, she met with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

During their meeting, Kang and Taro agreed to forge a hotline to increase their communication, according to her.

Kang also said President Moon Jae-in is not considering any visit to Japan before his country's hosting of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics from February to March. (Yonhap)