Japan, S.Korea foreign ministers agree to work closely to settle bilateral issue

The foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea have reaffirmed that the two countries will remain in close contact to resolve a pending issue and improve bilateral ties.

Japan's Hayashi Yoshimasa, now visiting Washington DC, spoke by phone with South Korea's Park Jin on Friday, Japan time.

The conversation came one day after the South Korean government announced its plan to settle the wartime labor issue.

The plan proposes that a public foundation offer payments to the plaintiffs in wartime labor lawsuits in the place of Japanese companies that have been ordered to pay damages by South Korea's Supreme Court.

On the issue, the Japanese government maintains that any right to claims was settled completely and finally in 1965, when Japan and South Korea normalized ties.

Hayashi and Park also reaffirmed that North Korea's repeated ballistic missile launches are a grave and imminent threat to regional security and a serious challenge to the international community. They agreed to cooperate on the matter, along with the United States.