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North Korea says it should be included in 'comfort women' settlement

“Victims of Japanese sexual slavery are not only in the South, they are also in the North," Pyongyang said on Friday.

By Elizabeth Shim
South Korean President Park Geun-hye, on left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had agreed on Nov. 2 to reach a settlement on the issue of Korean "comfort women," but North Korea said on Friday Pyongyang should be included in the resolution. Photo courtesy of Republic of Korea Blue House
South Korean President Park Geun-hye, on left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had agreed on Nov. 2 to reach a settlement on the issue of Korean "comfort women," but North Korea said on Friday Pyongyang should be included in the resolution. Photo courtesy of Republic of Korea Blue House

SEOUL, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- North Korea said the issue of "comfort women" is not exclusive to South Korea, and Pyongyang must be included in the talks between Seoul and Tokyo in order for all parties to arrive at a satisfactory resolution to what has proven to be a sensitive matter for the countries involved.

Speaking to Pyongyang's state media outlet KCNA, a spokesperson for North Korea's Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the leaders of Japan and South Korea had met and agreed to speed up ways of finding a solution to the issue of Korean "comfort women," who were forced to serve in Japanese military brothels during wartime.

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"Organized sexual slavery under Japanese colonial rule, and during World War II, is one of many sins that Japan must make penance for, a heinous human rights violation that infringed upon the dignity and virtue of women," North Korea said, according to South Korean newspaper Herald Business.

North Korea said the "repulsive crime" should not be a problem that can be so hastily addressed.

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"Victims of Japanese sexual slavery are not only in the South, they are also in the North, and if the problem is not resolved for [North and South], the problem ultimately cannot be resolved at all," Pyongyang said in statement, adding that Japan must provide reparations for all other crimes against humanity during its colonization of Korea.

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North Korea rarely broaches the issue of comfort women in its missives, but the remark follows a breakthrough in talks on Monday between Seoul and Tokyo on a longstanding issue from a shared history.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had initially agreed that they would reach a resolution by year's end, but on Wednesday Jiji Press reported Abe said differing views between the two sides is making it a challenge to see an agreement finalized before 2016.

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