Speaking at the cabinet meeting, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol touched upon bilateral relations with Japan.
“Relations with Japan should go beyond the past. South Korea-Japan can and should have a relationship that works together and that both countries win.” Yoon said, stressing that they do not have “a relationship where gains and losses are equal to each other” with Japan.
Yoon noted that he would instruct to take the necessary legal steps to re-include Japan in the “white list” of countries receiving preferential trade status.
“Japan is an important neighbor”
Pointing out that both South Korea and Japan should remove the barriers to the development of bilateral relations, Yoon said, “If we remove the barriers first, Japan will certainly respond.” said.
Emphasizing that nothing was done to “fix the troubled relations” with Japan during former President Moon Jae-in’s term, Yoon said, “I could have chosen the comfortable path for our political gain and left our troubled relationship as it is. If I provoked hostile feelings towards Japan for our domestic politics, I thought I would violate the obligations of my duty.” used the phrases.
Describing Japan as an “important neighbor”, Yoon said he is “confident that his government is moving in the right direction”.
“We will do our best to heal the suffering of the victims and bereaved families,” Yoon said, asking for people’s understanding of the government’s trust fund decision to address the issue of forced labor. said.
Referring to his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio at the summit in Tokyo, Yoon said, “Japan has already expressed regret and apology dozens of times for past history issues.” he said.
The “sensitive issues” of the two neighboring countries
The issue of “forced Korean workers” during the 1910-1945 period when Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula is known as the sensitive issue between the two neighbors of East Asia.
The Seoul government claims that 780,000 Koreans were forced into labor by Japanese firms during the 35-year colonial period.
The Tokyo government, on the other hand, argues that the 1965 memorandum, which included a compensation package of approximately $800 million through grants and loans, resolved the issue.
South Korea announced on January 12 that it plans to create a fund to compensate workers forced and unpaid during the colonial rule of Japan on the Korean Peninsula.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has announced that Japan will make compensation payments to “forced Korean workers” without the support of Japanese companies.