Tokyo-Seoul Ties to Stay Sour after Moon's Remarks

Politics

Tokyo, Jan. 11 (Jiji Press)--Japan-South Korea relations are seen staying chilly after South Korean President Moon Jae-in, in his closely watched press conference on Thursday, did not suggest any solution to the issue of wartime labor and criticized the Japanese side's response on the matter.

The two-hour New Year's press conference was dominated by questions from South Korean reporters about North Korea and the domestic economy. The president could have finished without mentioning Japan-South Korea ties if he had not taken a question from a Japanese journalist unexpectedly.

In his answer, Moon blamed Japanese politicians for politicizing history issues between the two countries and urged the Japanese government to face the issues with a more humble attitude. He finished by saying in a humorous tone that he actually pointed to a different reporter behind the Japanese journalist.

Following Moon's remarks, Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahisa Sato in a Twitter post harshly criticized the president for "repeating remarks that did not recognize facts as facts."

Former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, currently head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Policy Research Council, told reporters that the presidential remarks were "very regrettable" as they seemed to ignore the current situation between Japan and South Korea.

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