• Kyodo


South Korean President Park Geun-hye told a meeting of Japanese and South Korean business leaders that Japan needs to make more efforts to address differing views of its wartime actions before a bilateral summit can be held.

Park told the business leaders on Monday that she understood their desire to deepen exchanges and pave the way for the first bilateral summit since she and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office, the president’s office said.

But she also said that more time will be needed for preparation if a one-on-one meeting with Abe is to be held.

Japanese-Korean relations have soured over a territorial dispute and disagreements stemming from Japan’s wartime history.

Park has said she will not hold a summit with Abe unless Japan takes measures acceptable to the Korean “comfort women” who are seeking official compensation and an apology for being forced into Imperial Japanese military brothels before and during World War II.

While she urged Japan to address the historical issue in a sincere manner as their diplomats continue director-general level talks on it, Park said her country is looking to lay the ground for improving the soured ties.

Her office said she called on the business leaders to “exert efforts to make next year the starting year for the two countries to heal wounds caused by the past history.”

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of Japanese-Korean diplomatic relations.

Earlier in the day, Keidanren and the Federation of Korean Industries held a conference in Seoul to discuss business cooperation and regional economic integration in Asia.

They pledged in a joint statement to work together to help the bilateral summit happen.

Keidanren Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara said at the conference that he hopes to improve strained ties between the neighbors through increased economic cooperation.

His counterpart, Huh Chang-soo, said it is imperative to set an example for younger generations and instill hope for future relations between the two countries.

It was the business groups’ first conference since 2007. They started the annual gatherings in 1983.

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