“Our government has not claimed that the method we proposed is the only solution," said South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday with regards to a method of resolution for the forced labor issue during Japan's colonization of the Korean Peninsula, which has led to Japan’s recent export controls. "I hope the Japanese government will retract its unilateral pressure and return to the stage of a diplomatic resolution," the South Korean president said. On the topic of Japan’s tighter export regulations against South Korea, the president said, “Japan will suffer more damage from export curbs.” In light of the upcoming deadline on Thursday for Tokyo’s request for Seoul to respond to its proposal to have a third-party arbitration panel, President Moon delivered a strong warning against Tokyo and called for bilateral communication to seek a diplomatic resolution of the forced labor issue.
“It is very unwise for Japan to unprecedentedly connect such a historical issue with the economy,” said the president during a meeting with senior presidential aides on Monday. “Japan’s recent actions set back the development of relations between the two countries.” This was the first time that President Moon publicly proposed a diplomatic discussion for the resolution of the wartime forced labor issue.
“The South Korean government has made a proposal for an amicable diplomatic resolution in light of a Supreme Court ruling,” the president said. “We hope to discuss with Tokyo a reasonable measure that can be accepted by the public of both countries and the victims of forced labor.” This means the South Korean government shall not strictly adhere to the so-called “1+1” resolution proposed on June 19, in which compensations will be offered to the victims of forced conscription by collecting contributions from companies of the two countries if the Japanese government opens the door of communication. “There is no change in the government’s stance on how to approach the forced conscription issue,” an official of the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said. “Cheong Wa Dae remains open to discussions on an arbitration panel if Japan engages in a sincere conversation.”
However, some think it’s unlikely that Tokyo will accept South Korea’s request for talks with the Japanese Upper House election coming up next Sunday. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned that more export controls will follow in the case that Seoul does not accept Japan’s request for an arbitration panel by Thursday.
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