Japan, S.korea Fail To Narrow Differences

Japan, S.Korea fail to narrow differences

Foreign ministers from Japan and South Korea have failed to narrow differences over wartime labor issues when they met in Beijing on Wednesday.

Taro Kono and his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha met 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 the firms during World War Two.

He reiterated his demand that South Korea immediately correct the situation, saying it is in violation of international law. But Kang refrained from offering an explicit answer.

A senior Japanese foreign ministry official noted differences have not been narrowed at all, and resolving the dispute will take time.

But the Japanese government is set to continue dialogue as diplomatic sources from both countries have agreed to continue diplomatic communication.

Japan is also set to monitor whether South Korea will scrap an intelligence-sharing agreement that is automatically renewed on August 24 every year.

South Korea has hinted at the possibility of pulling out of the General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA.

Tokyo is to wait till Friday to learn whether it will receive notice from Seoul to this end.