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S.Korea's Moon calls on Japan's Abe to face up to history

Xinhua, May 11, 2017 Adjust font size:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to face up to history during the first telephone conversation between the two leaders.

Senior presidential press secretary Yoon Young-chan told a press conference Thursday that Moon held the phone conversation with Abe for about 25 minutes in the afternoon.

During the phone conversation, Moon said Japan should face up to history in order not to make historical issues become an obstacle to the two countries going toward the mature and cooperative relations.

The two countries, Moon said, should deal with the issues in earnest, according to the press secretary.

Moon said the majority of South Koreans did not accept the agreement on comfort women victims "emotionally," referring to the Dec. 28, 2015 agreement reached "finally and irreversibly" between the two nations.

The comfort women is a euphemism for women who was forced into sexual slavery for Japanese military brothels during World War II.

The South Korean victims in their 80s and 90s and civic group activists protested against the agreement as Abe has yet to sincerely apologize and compensate for the wartime crime against humanity.

During the talks with Abe, Moon expressed his hope to wisely overcome the historical issues, including the comfort women issue, in developing the bilateral ties, urging Abe to inherit and respect past declarations made by former Japanese leaders that showed heartfelt apology and repent over Japan's wartime atrocities.

Regarding the comfort women issue, Abe anticipated to steadily implement the agreement as a base to build the future-oriented relations between the two countries, confirming his basic principle.

Separately from the historical issues, Moon said it would be necessary for South Korea and Japan to make efforts to tackle the issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear and missile programs.

The two leaders agreed to hold a summit meeting as early as possible. Endit