Japan protests South Korea announcement

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President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday urged Japan to extend a heartfelt apology to the victims of its wartime sexual slavery.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha announces in a press conference Tuesday that South Korea will not seek a renegotiation of a controversial 2015 deal it reached with Japan to settle the issue of women forced into sexual servitude for Japanese troops before and during World War II.

"What the victims have consistently wanted is a spontaneous and genuine apology" from Japan, Kang added.

"China's position on the comfort women issue is clear", Lu said. As part of the accord, Japan had apologised to the victims and pledged 1bn yen ($8.8m, £6.1m) - termed carefully as a humanitarian offer and not reparation - to the dwindling number of survivors.

Kang said that even though the deal was flawed, South Korea was not seeking to change it.

The Korean Foreign Ministry launched a nine-member task force at the end of July comprised of foreign affairs officials and experts in Korea-Japan relations, worldwide law and human rights.

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Japan paid 1 billion yen into a fund supporting the victims and extracted promises from Seoul to remove statues honoring the victims from the vicinity of Japanese diplomatic missions. But she added that there was no denying an official deal had been made and said Seoul wouldn't push to renegotiate it. He further said the agreement was "unquestionably a crucial foundation [for bilateral relations] in Japan and South Korea's cooperation in several areas, including responding to the North Korean threat".

Seoul, while maintaining it will not seek to renegotiate the deal, said it will plan to match the 1 billion yen (8.93 million USA dollars) paid by the Japanese government under the deal, with South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha saying that it will decide how to use Japan's contribution.

But now Seoul's foreign minister Kang Kyung-Wha has said it was an "undeniable fact" that both governments had formally endorsed it. "Japan has kept up its side of the deal".

Japan says the matter of compensation for the women was settled under a 1965 treaty.

"In a positive aspect, it is not bad that the government set aside its own budget for the victims", said Kim Sung-han, a former South Korean vice minister.

The agreement was reached in December 2015 between Japan and the administration of impeached former president Park Geun Hye under mounting pressure from the United States, their mutual ally, to improve bilateral ties. The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday reiterated it would continue to seek to "harmoniously" and "peacefully" tackle the historical issues while pursuing a future-oriented relationship with Japan.

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