S. Korea to announce Tues. position on "comfort women" deal with Japan
Noh said the government will prepare follow-up measures by listening to the opinions of the women, their supporters and the South Korean public. However, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Kono stated on December 27 that South Korea-Japan relations will become impossible to manage if the South Korean government tries to "alter the agreement".
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told reporters in Seoul Tuesday it was "undeniable" the deal, approved during the administration of ousted conservative President Park Geun-hye, is a formal agreement between Seoul and Tokyo.
"While the administration has changed", Kono responded Tuesday, "responsibly implementing" the pact remains a matter of "universal global principle". The term was first suggested by the South Korean government with the intent of expressing the will to "never withdraw from apology".
Japan rejected any suggestion it take steps to augment the 2015 deal, under which Japan apologised to the victims and provided 1 billion yen ($8.8 million) to a fund to support them.
In particular, with the PyeongChang Olympic Games just around the corner, the party stated that the announcement comes at the "worst strategic time ever" and does not meet even the government's own intent to invite the Abe administration to the Olympics.
A Japanese government spokesman says after the two Koreas agreed to resume long-stalled talks that Japan will do what's necessary to keep up pressure on North Korea to give up its weapons programs. However, Seoul pressed Tokyo to be more honest towards the victims, saying the controversial deal does not solve the problem.
A Foreign Ministry official said about 60 percent of the money from Japan has yet to be paid out.
Whatever happens with the money, South Korea shows little sign of simply complying fully with the 2015 deal, despite Kang's assurance that no renegotiation was in order.
Under a landmark bilateral deal reached two years ago, both countries agreed that the "comfort women" issue that had led to diplomatic ties between both countries becoming significantly strained, would be "finally and irreversibly" resolved.
"(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. Seoul also supported a bid previous year to add documents related to comfort women to UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.
He told reporters Friday that Japan will "take all steps necessary", including cooperating with China and Russian Federation, to step up pressure on North Korea so it will give up its nuclear weapons and missile development policies.
One of them included occasions where the South Korean government secretly agreed to "resolve" the issue of installing comfort women statues, despite the administration's public stance that they can not be involved in dismantling the statues because "they were built by private organizations".
Seoul will not ask Tokyo to renegotiate the 2015 settlement on the issue of Japan's wartime sex slavery. Abe is leaning toward declining an invitation to next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea, despite the potential for top-level talks between the countries.