The foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan met to discuss cooperation on North Korea and other issues of mutual concern, including friction over Japan's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women, the foreign ministry here said Wednesday.
Kang Kyung-wha met with her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono over breakfast on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers in Vancouver, Canada, on Tuesday (local time), according to the ministry.
They shared views on the latest developments related to ongoing inter-Korean talks about the North's participation in next month's Winter Olympics and agreed to continue cooperating to turn the peaceful mood into a chance to address Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, the ministry said.
Kang invited Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Feb. 9-25 Olympic Games to be held in the alpine town of PyeongChang, and Kono answered that Japan will consider the invitation in connection with Abe's parliamentary schedule.
Kang also explained to Kono the Seoul government's recent decision on a controversial deal with Japan over Tokyo's wartime sexual slavery of Korean women. Kono reiterated Japan's stance on the issue, the ministry said.
Under the deal reached on Dec. 28, 2015, the neighbors agreed to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the comfort women issue. Tokyo apologized for its colonial-era atrocities and pledged 1 billion yen (US$8.9 million) to a foundation dedicated to supporting the victims.
South Korea recently completed its review of the deal and concluded that sufficient efforts were not made to reflect the views of victims before reaching the accord.
Though not seeking renegotiation, the government vowed to set aside its own money to help the victims heal their wounds and recover their dignity, instead of using the funds that Japan contributed under the agreement.
Japan has called on South Korea to adhere to the accord and said any attempt to revise or scrap it could hurt bilateral relations. (Yonhap)