Japan, S.korea Agree To Continue Communication

Japan, S.Korea agree to continue communication

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha have agreed to continue diplomatic communication to resolve the standoff over wartime labor.

Kono and Kang met in China on Wednesday for the first time since Japan decided to remove South Korea from its list of trading partners entitled to simplified export procedures.

Kono referred to rulings by South Korea's Supreme Court ordering Japanese companies to compensate those who claim they were forced to work for those firms during World War Two.

Kono reiterated his demand that South Korea immediately correct the situation, saying it is in violation of international law.

The two foreign ministers agreed to work together in dealing with North Korea, which has been launching short-range ballistic missiles in recent weeks.

They also exchanged views on Japan's export controls, which have triggered a backlash from South Korea.

Another topic on the agenda was a bilateral intelligence-sharing pact called the General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA.

The pact has been automatically renewed every year since it was signed in 2016, but either side can pull out by giving notice by August 24.

Kono told reporters after the meeting that the GSOMIA framework should be maintained, because it is crucial for Japan, South Korea and the US.

Kang acknowledged that she discussed the pact with Kono, but declined to comment when asked whether Seoul would renew it.