Moon stresses no intervention in Supreme Court’s ruling on wartime labor: official
SEOUL-- President Moon Jae-in stressed that the Seoul government will not meddle in court rulings on Japan's wartime forced labor during this week's summit talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a Seoul official said Wednesday.
The meeting, held in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu on Tuesday, was the first summit talks between the two leaders since they met in September last year on the sidelines of a U.N. General Assembly session.
South Korea's Supreme Court ruled in October last year that Japanese firms should compensate victims of forced labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.
Japan protested strongly, arguing that all colonial-era reparation issues were settled under a 1965 deal normalizing relations between the two countries and demanding Seoul come up with a solution to address the issue.
"In the meeting, President Moon clearly and strongly explained the South Korean government's stance that it cannot meddle in a court decision," a Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters on background, adding that Moon also called for a speeding up of efforts to resolve the issue.
Tensions have run high between Seoul and Tokyo following Japan's imposition of restrictions on exports of key materials to South Korea in July in apparent retaliation for the Supreme Court rulings.
In response, South Korea decided in August to terminate a military intelligence sharing pact with Japan. But the termination was suspended at the last minute in November as the two countries agreed to launch talks about the trade restrictions.
Days before the Moon-Abe summit in the Chinese city, Tokyo announced an easing of restrictions on exports of photoresist, one of the three key industrial products subject to tighter control.
"President Moon said it is important to seek the best solution," said the official. "He asked Japan to make concerted efforts to seek the best solution."
During the Moon-Abe meeting, moreover, the two leaders discussed the growing concerns over contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant. News reports say Tokyo will dump the radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.
"Prime Minister Abe expressed his willingness to share information on it," said the official.
Source: Yonhap News Agency