SEOUL, Feb. 9 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are set to hold bilateral talks Friday, amid a renewed dispute over Japan’s wartime sexual slavery of Korean women.
The Moon-Abe summit will be held in PyeongChang, the host town of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games located some 180 kilometers east of Seoul. The meeting will be held shortly before the opening ceremony of the quadrennial event.
The two leaders are widely expected to discuss ways to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and rein in the communist state’s evolving missile technology.
Pyongyang has staged 11 missile launches since Moon took office in May last year, including several ballistic missiles that flew over Japan.
Friday’s meeting between Moon and Abe will mark the third of its kind following their bilateral talks in Germany in July and Vladivostok, Russia in September.
The latest meeting follows a controversy over a 2015 agreement, under which Seoul’s former conservative administration agreed to “finally and irreversibly” settle the prolonged dispute over Japan’s wartime atrocities against thousands of Korean women in exchange for Japan’s apology and contribution of 10 billion Japanese yen (US$9.1 million) to a fund set up to support the Korean victims.
Moon has declared the agreement flawed and unacceptable, though he said his administration will not seek renegotiation of the deal.
The Japanese premier earlier said he plans to urge South Korea to implement the 2015 agreement when he meets Moon here this week.
Moon has stressed the need for the two countries to work together despite their differences over how to address historical disputes that also include forced labor of many Koreans during Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea, calling their cooperation a vital part of international efforts to denuclearize North Korea.
The South Korean president is also scheduled to hold a bilateral summit with President Mark Rutte of the Netherlands later in the day, following his lunch with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Gangneung, a city located 230 kilometers east of Seoul that will host all ice events during the PyeongChang Olympic Games.