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Japan and South Korea announce talks to resolve their dispute over slavery in World War II

November 23, 2019

South Korean Foreign Ministers, Kang Kyung Wha, and Japan, Toshimitsu Motegi – REUTERS / POOL NEW


South Korea and Japan have decided to take a step forward in their talks to resolve their historical disputes with the decision to address the situation of the thousands of South Koreans enslaved during the Japanese invasion of the country in World War II, as confirmed by the respective ministers Foreign officials from both countries, Kang Kyung Wha and his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi, reports the official South Korean news agency Yonhap.

This line of talks has been opened with the help of the United States, which received a formal request from Seoul on Saturday to help resolve this dispute, one of the great points of friction between the two countries, which has been an obstacle at the time to discuss a coordinated strategy against the threat posed to both North Korean nuclear aspirations.

This approach occurs after, on Friday, both countries decided to postpone, almost at the last moment, the suspension of a military information exchange agreement after both parties at the last moment approached their positions during this dispute.

The announcement was made only six hours before the agreement expired, considered of strategic interest in the face of the threat that North Korea represents to both countries, and after the United States, a common ally, asked Seoul to reconsider its position.

In fact, hours earlier, the United States Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, wanted to convey a message of cooperation. “I understand that they have historical problems, and I understand the reluctance, but right now there are much greater concerns that concern North Korea and China, and we have to move forward,” he told reporters on Thursday during a visit to Vietnam, in which He asked South Korean and Japanese leaders to exhibit “an act of leadership.”

However, South Korea has imposed as a condition that it may abandon the so-called General Army Security Information Agreement (or GSOMIA) at any time, as reported by the deputy director of the Office of National Security of the Presidency of South Korea, Kim You Geun, in statements also collected by Yonhap.