Japan, S.korea Foreign Officials Hold Talks

Japan, S.Korea foreign officials hold talks

Senior Japanese and South Korean foreign ministry officials have met in Tokyo to discuss the issue of wartime labor and an intelligence-sharing pact that is set to expire next week.

Shigeki Takizaki, the Director-General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and his counterpart, Kim Jung-han, the Director-General for Asian and Pacific affairs, met on Friday morning for the first time since last month.

Kim told reporters that he hoped to have candid discussions on issues of concern to the two countries.

The meeting was held behind closed doors, but the Japanese side is believed to have urged South Korea to correct the current situation on compensation for wartime labor, which Tokyo regards as a violation of international law.

It is also believed the two officials exchanged views on the General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA, which is due to expire on November 23 after South Korea decided not to extend the pact.

The Japanese government says that Seoul's decision is ill-judged, citing the current regional security environment as a reason. South Korea maintains that it is ready to reconsider if Japan withdraws its tightened controls on exports of sensitive high-tech materials.

The United States has been urging Seoul not to leave the pact.