South Korea's presidential office said Thursday it's willing and ready to hold a summit with Japan regardless of timing in a "two-track" approach to pursue forward-looking bilateral ties separate from history issues.
It was responding to growing skepticism about President Moon Jae-in's push for a one-on-one meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the G-20 summit to open in Osaka next Friday.
|Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung (Yonhap)|
"There's nothing decided for now in connection with a South Korea-Japan summit," Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung said at a press briefing.
She added that South Korea "has the intention of meeting (Japan) at any time and is open to it any time."
Displeased with the Moon administration's attitude on the wartime forced labor problem, Japan strongly indicated that Abe won't meet bilaterally with Moon during the G-20 session.
Many Koreans were forced to toil at Japanese factories during World War II when Korea was under its brutal colonization. South Korean courts ordered relevant Japanese firms to compensate for the forced labor.
While Japan claims that all reparation-related issues were already settled in a 1965 bilateral treaty, the South Korean government has proposed a joint compensation fund to resolve the dispute. Japan rejected it.
Asked about Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to North Korea this week, Ko reaffirmed that Seoul and Beijing are closely cooperating with each other on the matter.
On Seoul's role in the denuclearization and peace-building process, she said it can act as a "mediator" sometimes or a "party concerned."
"We will try to find the most possible and fastest way to achieve Korean Peninsula denuclearization and peace," she added. (Yonhap)