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S. Korea to do utmost for early resumption of Korean Peninsula peace process: S. Korean FM
Updated: 2021-12-30 08:27:06 KST
South Korea's foreign minister Chung Eui-yong says Seoul had hoped the Beijing Winter Olympics would serve as an opportunity to improve the inter-Korean ties, but added such prospects now seem "difficult."
Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, he said the government will do its utmost for the resumption of talks with North Korea.

"The South Korean government will put its best efforts into improving inter-Korean ties and an early resumption of the Korean Peninsula peace process, using all chances, not giving up hope until the end."

When it comes to the South Korean government's end-of-war declaration, Chung said Seoul and Washington have effectively agreed on the draft, though details were not given.
He said he reaffirmed the issue with his American counterpart Antony Blinken when they met at the G7 ministerial meeting earlier this month.
They are currently discussing ways to engage with the North.

As for South Korea's strategy amid U.S.-China tensions, Chung said Seoul has made it clear that it seeks friendly ties with Beijing based upon the Seoul-Washington alliance, dismissing comments that the Korean government has been maintaining an ambiguous stance.

When asked about sour Seoul-Tokyo ties over historical issues, the minister asked Japan to show a more sincere attitude, adding the government is seeking "realistic measures" for the Korean victims of wartime forced labor and sexual enslavement.
Chung added the 2015 Seoul-Tokyo agreement on the so-called comfort women victims could not fundamentally resolve the problem, but the current government did not overturn the deal given the fact that it was a formal government agreement.

"Our government is continuing talks with the victims and we keep proposing realistic measures to the Japanese side to resolve this issue. We expect a more forward-looking, reasonable response from Japan."

Chung added that what the victims want is a sincere apology from Japan, not financial compensation.
Following the 2015 agreement, the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation was created and Japan has donated one-billion yen, or some 9-million U.S. dollars, to the foundation, part of which was given to some of the victims.
But later, the foundation was dissolved, saying that the agreement was set up without the victims' consent, and the rest of the funds remain unused.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.
Reporter : yoonjm@arirang.com