Abe Speaks At News Conference After Summits

Abe speaks at news conference after summits

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has wrapped up a series of high-level talks with China and South Korea. He vowed to continue working with the two countries to tackle some of the big issues facing the region.

After a trilateral summit, Abe spoke one-on-one with the South Korean president. Ties between Tokyo and Seoul have been tense over trade and wartime labor issues.

Abe said, "I conveyed to President Moon Jae-in Japan's position on the issue of former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula. Seoul should keep its promise between the two nations. South Korea has a responsibility to find its own solution. I urged the South Korean side to take steps that could see the two countries enjoy a healthy relationship once again."

Bilateral ties soured following a series of rulings by the South Korean Supreme Court -- ordering Japanese companies to compensate South Koreans who say they were forced to work for the firms during World War Two.

The Japanese government maintains the issue of the right to claim compensation was settled by a bilateral agreement signed in 1965.

Last week, the speaker of South Korea's National Assembly submitted a bill aimed at establishing a fund to help resolve the issue by paying consolation money.

Moon Hee-sang and a cross-party group of lawmakers call for the fund to be set up with voluntary donations from Japanese and South Korean companies, as well as members of the public.

But a number of plaintiffs in wartime labor lawsuits are opposed to the bill.

Abe also held a one-on-one with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Japanese leader says he urged Beijing to work toward peace, cooperation and friendship in the East China Sea -- where Chinese government ships have repeatedly entered Japanese waters.

Abe says they also discussed a number of issues that are of increasing concern to the global community.

He said, "We talked about the South China Sea, Hong Kong and the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. We need to continue dialogue all the more, because there are challenges. I want to maintain seamless exchanges and build up a mature Japan-China relationship in a new era -- one that can meet the expectations of the international community."