All national dailies reported on a New Year’s press conference held by South Korean President Moon on Wednesday. Concerning the 2015 comfort women agreement with Japan, the ROK leader expressed his intention not to seek renegotiation of the accord by saying that it is “undeniable” that the two nations concluded an official agreement. However, Moon added that the “erroneous knot” with Japan over the comfort women issue must be untied and that the victims could forgive Japan and the issue could be resolved completely if Japan were to accept the truth, offer a sincere apology to the victims, and work with the international community to prevent a recurrence.
Asahi, Yomiuri, and Nikkei quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga as commenting at a news conference on Wednesday on Moon’s remarks by saying that Japan cannot accept the South Korean leader’s call for Tokyo to do more to settle the comfort women issue and that it is necessary for both countries to steadily implement the final and irreversible agreement.
Concerning South Korea’s overall relations with Japan, President Moon reportedly stated that South Korea will make efforts to improve its ties with Japan by keeping history-related issues separate from future-oriented cooperation with Tokyo.
With regard to South Korea’s relations with the North, the ROK leader reportedly said that he is prepared to hold a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if certain conditions are met. However, Moon added that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula that was declared by the North and South in 1992 is Seoul’s basic position and it cannot concede on this. Asahi and Yomiuri wrote that Moon added that South Korea will work more closely with the international community, including the United States, China, and Japan.