Ruling pushes Seoul to request sex slave talks

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Ruling pushes Seoul to request sex slave talks

Seoul plans to propose discussions with Tokyo over the issue of compensation for Korean sex slaves during World War II, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade yesterday.

The move follows a ruling by Korea’s top court a week ago that it is unconstitutional for the Korean government not to make further efforts to get Japan to compensate the so-called “comfort women,” who were forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.

“According to the Constitutional Court’s decision, we are reviewing a plan to hold bilateral talks stipulated under the first article of the third clause of the [1965] settlement agreement as a measure to resolve disputes regarding the interpretation of the treaty,” Foreign Minister Cho Byung-jae told a regular media briefing. “As soon as the review is over, we plan to proceed with discussions with the Japanese side.”

The settlement agreement, short for the “Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims and the Economic Cooperation between the Republic of Korea and Japan,” was among a set of agreements reached in 1965 in a bid to normalize bilateral relations after Japan’s 35-year-long colonial rule on Korea from 1910-45.

Japan argues the settlement agreement, for which the Park Chung Hee administration received $800 million, settles all individual claims from Korea for Japan’s wartime acts. Korea’s stance is that the comfort women issue is separate from individual claims.

The Aug. 30 Constitutional Court’s ruling was in response to a petition filed in 2006 by 109 comfort women, who claimed their rights to pursue happiness, guaranteed under the constitution, were violated by the government’s lack of efforts on the issue.

By Moon Gwang-lip []

한글 관련 기사 [뉴시스]

정부 "위안부 문제 한·일 양자협의 제안하겠다"

외교통상부는 8일 일본군 위안부 문제해결을 위한 한·일 양자협의 개최 방안을 검토 중이고, 검토가 완료되는 대로 일본 측에 이를 제안할 계획이라고 밝혔다.

조병제 외교통상부 대변인은 이날 브리핑에서 "헌법재판소 결정에 따라 청구권 협정의 해석에 관한 분쟁해결을 위해, 이 협정의 3조1항이 규정하고 있는 조치로서 양자 협의 개최방안을 현재 검토 중"이라며 이같이 밝혔다.

조 대변인은 또 "이 협의는 청구권 협정에 정해진 바에 따라 제안하는 것이니 일본 정부에서 받아들이지 않을까 기대하고 있다"고 말했다.

그는 "헌법재판소의 결정에 대해 일단 면밀하게 법적 검토를 하고 우리측이 취할 수 있는 조치, 그리고 취해야 할 조치에 대해 종합적으로 추진해 나갈 예정"이라고 덧붙였다.

앞서 외교부는 일본을 상대로 위안부 문제 해결을 위한 외교적 교섭에 나서라는 헌법재판소 판결에 따라 지난 1일 가네하라 주한 일본 총괄 공사를 불러들여 일본측의 성의있는 조치를 촉구했다.

정부는 위안부 문제의 조속한 해결을 위해 정부 내 태스크포스(TF)팀을 구성하는 문제도 고려하고 있는 것으로 알려졌다.
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