Japan and South Korea agree to maintain communication

Senior officials from the foreign ministries of Japan and South Korea agreed to maintain communication between the foreign affairs authorities on both sides in order to restore healthy bilateral relations.

Japan’s Asian and Oceanic Affairs Bureau Chief Funakoshi Takehiro and South Korea’s Asian and Peaceful Affairs Director General Lee Sang-ryol met in Seoul, the South Korean capital, on Monday.

The Japanese side says Funakoshi has acknowledged that relations have been strained by differing views on issues, including issues relating to the so-called wartime comfort women.

On the issue of wartime work, Funakoshi reiterated Japan’s demand that Seoul come up with a solution that can be accepted by Japan soon.

He also referred to the latest developments regarding the Takeshima Islands. The South Korean national police chief visited the islands last week.

South Korea controls the islands. Japan claims them. The Japanese government maintains that the islands are an integral part of Japanese territory. He says South Korea is illegally occupying them.

Funakoshi said the visit was completely unacceptable from the perspective of Japan’s consistent position on the issue and called for an appropriate response from Seoul.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Lee had stressed that Seoul could not accept Japanese claims on the matter under any circumstances.

Funakoshi and Lee agreed that foreign officials on both sides will maintain communication in an effort to restore healthy relations.

Funakoshi also spoke with Noh Kyu-duk, South Korea’s Special Representative for Peace and Security Affairs on the Korean Peninsula.

Officials have reportedly reconfirmed that their countries and the United States will work closely on North Korean issues.

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