- Title: South Korea expresses regret at Japan's ambassador recall
- Date: 6th January 2017
- Summary: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (JANUARY 6, 2017) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** JAPANESE AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH KOREA, YASUMASA NAGAMINE, WALKING INTO SOUTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTRY BUILDING VARIOUS OF YASUMASA STANDING IN LIFT LIFT CLOSING SOUTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN, CHO JUNE-HYUCK, WALKING INTO NEWS CONFERENCE ROOM (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN, CHO JUNE-HYUCK, SAYING: "The government expresses strong regret over the decision by the Japanese government today regarding the statue in front of the Japanese consulate office in Busan." JOURNALISTS SEATED (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN, CHO JUNE-HYUCK, SAYING: "Once again, the government wants to highlight that South Korea and Japan should keep developing bilateral ties based on trust between the two governments regardless of any difficulties." CHO WALKING AWAY EXTERIOR OF SOUTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SIGN READING (Korean and English): "MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS"
- Embargoed: 21st January 2017 08:05
- Keywords: Japan South Korea Foreign Ministry Comfort Women Statue Diplomacy
- Location: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
- City: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
- Country: South Korea
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0015XXZSJP
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:South Korea summoned Japanese Ambassador, Yasumasa Nagamine, on Friday (January 6) after Japan temporarily recalled him over the comfort women statue in Busan.
Nagamine, who was summoned by South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, did not speak to reporters as he arrived at the foreign ministry.
Before the meeting, the South Korean foreign ministry expressed regrets over the situation.
"The government expresses strong regret over the decision by the Japanese government today regarding the statue in front of the Japanese consulate office in Busan," said South Korean foreign ministry spokesman, Cho June-hyuck.
"Once again, the government wants to highlight that South Korea and Japan should keep developing bilateral ties based on trust between the two governments regardless of any difficulties," he added.
Earlier in the day, Japan said it was temporarily recalling its ambassador to South Korea over a statue commemorating Korean women forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War Two which it said violated an agreement to resolve the issue.
Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Japan would postpone bilateral "high-level" economic dialogue and that it was suspending talks on a new currency swap arrangement with South Korea.
The statue, which depicts a young, barefoot woman sitting in a chair, was erected near the Japanese consulate in the southern South Korean city of Busan at the end of last year.
The two nations agreed in 2015 that the issue of "comfort women", which has long plagued ties between the two Asian neighbors, would be "finally and irreversibly resolved" if all conditions of the accord - which included a Japanese apology and a fund to help the victims - were met.
The term "comfort women" is a euphemism for girls and women, from South Korea, China, the Philippines and elsewhere, forced to work in Japanese military brothels. South Korean activists estimate that there may have been as many as 200,000 Korean victims.
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