SEOUL, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- South Korea expressed concerns on a series of "aggressive remarks" by high-ranking government officials in Japan over the South Korean court ruling on wartime forced labor.
"Remarks by Japanese government leaders are not appropriate and sensible," said South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon, in a statement on Wednesday.
"The court decision is not a diplomatic matter between the two countries. The judiciary makes a legal judgment, with which the public administration cannot interfere. That is the fundamental principle of democracy. I'm sure Japanese government leaders know this," Lee said.
Seoul's foreign ministry also said it is a regret to see the remarks made by Japanese officials that could instigate negative sentiment between two countries. It urged the Japanese government to respect the court's decision and not to use it for a political purpose.
"The Japanese government should acknowledge that highlighting the issue politically would not help the two countries build a future-oriented relationship," the ministry said, in a statement, on Tuesday.
Such warning comes after Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said in a recent interview with Bloomberg that "If any country gets into an agreement with the Korean government in international law and the Korean Supreme Court could overturn the agreement any time they wish to, it would be difficult for any country to do anything with the South Korean government."
South Korea's Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 30 that Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corp. should pay more than $87,000 (100 million won) to four South Koreans for forced labor and unpaid wages.
The Japanese government has protested the South Korean court decision.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last week that Japan could file a case with the International Court of Justice over the South Korean court ruling.