South Korea Will Not Renegotiate Deal with Japan Over Wartime 'Comfort Women'

S. Korea to announce Tues. position on

The government is expected to call for Tokyo to take responsible steps to address the colonial-era misdeed rather than taking steps to renegotiate it or scrap it.

"The Foreign Ministry has decided to make the announcement before Moon's New Year's press conference on Wednesday", the source said.

The source, however, said the government would not propose a renegotiation or termination of the agreement.

"Third, the 2015 agreement on the issue of the Japanese military wartime sex slavery victims can not be a genuine solution as it did not reflect the opinions of the elderly women".

Following the task force's work, Moon issued a statement on December 28, calling the agreement between Seoul and Tokyo "highly flawed". She promised the government will listen to the victims to formulate follow-up measures to resolve the wartime history issue.

The foreign ministry said the two discussed the upcoming inter-Korean talks.

The deal was struck under President Park Geun-hye, the predecessor of President Moon Jae-in, but it has been unpopular among the South Korean public as it is perceived by many as unfavorable to South Korea.

According to the government source Monday, today's announcement will also include the fate of the foundation and the money.

Under the deal announced by the foreign ministers of the two countries in 2015, Japan paid ¥1 billion to a South Korean foundation to support Korean victims, while South Korea agreed to "make efforts" to remove a statue symbolizing comfort women that now stands in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.

"The deal did not reflect the victims' opinions", the report said.

"The government will handle the money issue in a way you will be satisfied with", Kang told Kim Bok-dong, 92, during their meeting on Sunday.

Reporters demanded to know whether the money paid by Japan will be returned, and whether Japanese government would agree to discuss the matter.

"We are considering it", Kang responded.

The upcoming visit is in line with the close contact the allies have had in dealing with North Korea and follows recent telephone talks between their presidents and foreign ministers.

South Korea's top negotiator on North Korea's nuclear issues will visit Washington this week to share assessments on the latest developments involving the North, the foreign ministry said Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued to hold bureau-level talks with Japan, as means to "conceal" the real talks being led by the NIS chief.

Some interpret Moon's statement as de facto initial steps to try to renegotiate the agreement with Japan, which was one of the pledges he made during his presidential candidacy.

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