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South Korea urged to move ties forward

Kyodo

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday stressed his hopes for moving Tokyo’s relations with Seoul forward in a meeting with South Korean Second Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Kishida described Japan’s relations with South Korea as “important to Japan” in his talks with Cho and said he “would like to move the relationship forward with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.”

Cho said he will convey Kishida’s message to Yun and expressed hopes that the two countries will have productive discussions, the ministry said.

Kishida and Cho met on the sidelines of an international conference on Syria in Montreaux.

Kennedy, Lee talk

KYODO

The U.S. and South Korean ambassadors to Japan, Caroline Kennedy and Lee Byung-kee, have exchanged views over issues concerning Japan-South Korea relations, including the “comfort women,” Yonhap News Agency said.

Kennedy invited Lee to lunch at the U.S. envoy’s residence in Tokyo in their first one-on-one meeting Tuesday, a diplomatic source was cited as saying Wednesday.

Lee conveyed to Kennedy the South Korean government’s position on the females recruited to provide sex for Japanese soldiers during the war, according to the South Korean news agency.

The envoy may have spoken of the importance for Japan to own up to a 1993 statement by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono that acknowledged the Japanese military’s responsibility for the forced recruitment of women into sexual servitude during the war.

It remains unknown how Kennedy responded. The news agency said she is believed to have shown considerable interest in the issue, as she is a known human rights advocate.