South Korean President Moon Jae-in told an envoy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the divisive issue of women forced into wartime brothels for the Japanese military should not impede the development of bilateral ties.

Moon, who took office last month, was quoted by the presidential office as telling Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, on Monday that the South Korean people cannot accept a landmark 2015 deal between Tokyo and Seoul to resolve the two countries' long-running feud over the "comfort women" issue.

"The candid reality is the South Korean people don't accept the agreement on the comfort women, and, more than anything else, those comfort women don't accept the deal," presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun quoted Moon as telling Nikai.