South Korean President Moon Jae-in said South Korea is "always ready to sit down and have talks" with Japan over issues related to wartime history, in a speech on Monday commemorating the launch of the 1919 popular uprising against Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule.

"If (South Korea and Japan) put our heads together while putting ourselves in each other's shoes, I am sure that we could easily solve problems of the past wisely," Moon said, emphasizing the importance of cooperating for future-oriented ties.

The president called for the separation of historical issues from efforts to improve future ties, but stopped short of making concrete demands or a new proposal to the Japanese government.