S. Korea won't ask to renegotiate flawed comfort women deal

By Jennie Oh  |  Jan. 9, 2018 at 4:03 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

SEOUL, South Korea, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Seoul will not ask Tokyo to revise a bilateral pact on settling Japan's wartime sex slavery of Korean women.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Tuesday announced the government's position on the controversial deal, which was deemed flawed in various aspects by a task force review last month.

The task force concluded that much of the negotiation process, driven by the past Park Geun-hye administration, concealed major concessions made to Tokyo and didn't take heed to the victims' opinions.

While admitting the deal was flawed, Minister Kang said the South Korean government will not request a renegotiation, as it is an official agreement made between the two governments.

However, she said the pact "cannot be a true solution for the victims of Japan's wartime sex slavery."

Kang said she expects Tokyo to "come to terms with universal principals and accept the truths as they are, continuing efforts to help restore the honor and dignity of the victims and healing their emotional wounds."

What the elderly victims want "remains the same as ever" which is a "genuine, voluntary apology," according to the minister.

Under the deal which was reached in December 2015, Tokyo issued an acknowledgement of the sex slavery issue which was read out by foreign minister Fumio Kishida instead of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Japan also agreed to contribute one billion yen toward a fund to support the victims.

These measures were considered insufficient and insincere by most of the Korean public who criticized that the victims' voices hadn't been heard.

Kang expressed regret that the government's decision to preserve the deal would not satisfy the wishes of the victims, Yonhap reported.

She pledged the government will take their words into consideration when devising follow-up measures to resolve the historical issue.

Seoul will also pursue a "future-oriented" relations with Tokyo, and discuss how its one billion yen contribution for the victims will be processed.

South Korea will set up its own fund of $8.9 million to support the victims, she said.

The decision comes after a director-level meeting between Seoul and Tokyo's foreign ministries on Monday.

While South Korean civic groups representing the sex slavery victims have called for the immediate scrapping of the deal, Japanese media have conveyed Tokyo's fierce opposition to changing the pact by "even a millimeter."

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories