South Korea will not seek renegotiation of 'comfort women' deal with Japan

Violet Powell
January 10, 2018

"It can not be denied that the 2015 deal was an official agreement reached between the governments of each country, and our government will not demand renegotiation", Kang said in a statement carried by Yonhap News Agency.

A South Korean government panel found last month that victims' opinions were not adequately taken into account when the agreement was drawn up, and Moon called the deal seriously flawed at the end of 2017, saying it did not resolve the issue.

The South Korean and American sides will share their assessments on the latest situations involving North Korea and have in-depth discussions on ways to make strides in inter-Korean relations and in the goal of achieving a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue, the spokesman said.

In Tokyo, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono repeated his government's call for Seoul to uphold the pact, which he called "final and irreversible".

South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told a press conference that Seoul would discuss with the Japanese administration in the coming days on how to implement the agreement. The Games are to be held in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang.

Under the deal announced by the foreign ministers of the two countries, Japan gave 1 billion yen ($8.8 million) to a South Korean foundation to support Korean victims, while South Korea agreed to "make efforts" to remove a comfort women monument from in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul. The government will consult with Tokyo about how the Japanese fund should be spent. However, Seoul pressed Tokyo to be more honest towards the victims, saying the controversial deal does not solve the problem.

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"(Seoul) is expected to urge Tokyo to take responsible steps vis-a-vis wrong (parts of the) deal in line with the seriousness of the comfort women issue and the spirit of the principles of universality for mankind", the source added.

Kang said there is no denying that the agreement was formal.

A Foreign Ministry official said about 60 percent of the money from Japan has yet to be paid out. Japan sees this as a violation of South Korea's promise not to criticize the country over the comfort women issue in the global community.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also said several times on January 4 that the agreement "will not move an inch", and deplored South Korea for "moving the goal post every time".

The announcement came hours after the United States said it has agreed to delay joint military exercises with South Korea until after the Winter Olympics.

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