Japan, S.Korea foreign ministers agree to continue talks on wartime labor issue

The foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea have agreed to continue negotiations toward solving a pending wartime labor issue between the two countries.

Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and his South Korean counterpart Park Jin met for about an hour in New York on Monday. Hayashi is visiting the US city to attend the UN General Assembly.

Park reiterated that the South Korean side is making efforts to find a solution before assets seized from Japanese companies are liquidated.

In South Korea, rulings have been finalized ordering the Japanese companies to compensate people who say they or their relatives were forced to work for the firms during World War Two.

Hayashi also repeated his call for the South Korean side to act responsibly in solving the matter.

The Japanese government says any right to claims was settled completely and finally in 1965, when Japan and South Korea normalized ties.

The two said constructive diplomatic exchanges are being made. They confirmed that they would continue talks toward solving the issue and bringing bilateral ties back to a healthy state.

They also agreed that Japan, South Korea and the United States would cooperate closely in dealing with North Korea, which is accelerating its nuclear and missile programs.

Hayashi told reporters after the meeting that he has been speaking with Park for the past three months. He said that while Japan and South Korea have various pending issues, both sides are willing to settle them and are continuing talks to that end.

Hayashi said nothing has been decided about a possible summit between Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol.