Top US diplomat Antony Blinken on Sunday praised South Korea’s plan to compensate victims of Japan’s forced wartime labor as Seoul seeks closer ties with Tokyo.
South Korea and Japan “are two of the most important allies of the United States, and we are inspired by the work they have done to advance our bilateral relationship,” the secretary of state said in a statement.
The trilateral relationship is “at the heart of our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” he said.
“We commend (Seoul and Tokyo) for their courage and vision, and call on the international community to join us in applauding this important achievement.”
The decision by Seoul comes as South Korea and Japan seek to step up security cooperation in the face of growing threats from nuclear-armed North Korea.
But bilateral relations have long been strained by Tokyo’s brutal 1910-45 colonial rule on the Korean peninsula.
According to statistics from Seoul, about 780,000 Koreans were forced into forced labor by Japan during the 35-year occupation, not including women forced into sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers.
South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin said Seoul plans to take money from major South Korean companies that benefited from the 1965 reparations deal with Tokyo and use it to compensate victims.
Victims have criticized the proposal because it falls far short of their demand for a full apology from Tokyo and direct compensation from the Japanese companies involved.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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