World News

Abe Strongly Protests Seoul's Renewed Stance on Sexual Slavery Deal

Abe Strongly Protests Seoul's Renewed Stance on Sexual Slavery Deal

"It is an worldwide and universal principle to keep it", Abe told reporters prior to departing for an Eastern European tour.

Japan, he said, "has been carrying out all the promises it made in good faith" and urged South Korea to "firmly follow through" on the pact.

Abe will visit Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania, the first sitting Japanese leader to visit those nations. The two are said to have discussed Tuesday's high-level talks between the two Koreas, the first in two years.

Abe, who will meet the heads of the six states on his tour, also noted that representatives from more than 30 companies would accompany him to develop business ties. Moon decided not to renegotiate the deal but suggested that Japan's "heartfelt apologies" were needed to resolve the comfort women issue. Tokyo says it should not be strong-armed into a form of "apology diplomacy". He said that in his talks with his counterparts, he hopes to seek coordination on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and other urgent issues that are facing the global community.

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"Soul-searching on whether a universal human (rights) issue and a historical issue like the comfort women affair could be settled through negotiations should have made it possible to avoid it", the former journalist with a progressive newspaper said.

For the new South Korean administration, the decision to discredit the deal but not to revoke it may be the only option available, Oh also noted, alluding to the practical difficulties of breaking a formal diplomatic agreement with a foreign country.

He said the comfort women issue has been dug up over and over again for "domestic political gain", adding that Seoul chose to gloss over "uncomfortable truth" of historians' findings that South Korean soldiers were culpable of raping Vietnamese women during the Vietnam War. He expected the agreement to further boost the economic relations between the two countries, Abe said.


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