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People's Daily Online

S.Korea's Park urges Abe to decide on wartime sex slavery issue

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 15:52, November 13, 2015

South Korean President Park Geun-hye urged Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to make a decision on the issue of Japan's sex slavery of Korean women during World War II, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Friday.

'The issue on victims of comfort women for Japan's military is not just the bilateral matter between (South) Korea and Japan but a matter about universal human rights of women,' Park said in a joint written interview with eight member news agencies of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) that was unveiled by her office.

Park called on Abe to decide on the issue to cure the pains of history as agreed upon between the two leaders during their first one-on-one meeting in Seoul on Nov. 2 to speed up talks on the comfort women, or the Korean women forced to serve in the Imperial Japan's military brothels during World War II.

Park and Abe sat down face-to-face for their first summit on the sidelines of the trilateral leadership meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that was held in Seoul in early November.

Park said that Japan is an important neighbor with which South Korea should cooperate for peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia, noting that Seoul and Tokyo should make this year a turning point to overcome history and go toward a new future.

Before the Nov. 2 summit, the South Korean president had refused to meet one-on-one with the Japanese leader citing his distorted perception of history.

Seoul has called on Abe to sincerely apologize and properly atone for the comfort women victims, but Japan has claimed that the issue has been settled in a 1965 treaty that normalized diplomatic ties between South Korea and Japan.

South Korean historians estimate that more than 200,000 women, mostly from the Korean peninsula, were forced to serve as sex slaves during the devastating war. Surviving sex slavery victims are gradually passing away as their age averages nearly 90, with only 47 being alive in South Korea.

Park said that if the issue is not resolved rapidly, it would become a big burden of history for Japan's government and Japan's future generations will be saddled with the historical burden.

Her comments indicated Abe's statement in August to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II that said Japan should not destine its future generations to make a repeated apology for wartime atrocities.

Park said that denying this issue and dragging his feet on the wartime sex slavery is not in line with cosmopolitan feelings, anticipating a visible progress in bilateral negotiations in the foreseeable future.

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