South Korean President Cancels Trip to Tokyo, Potential Summit with Japanese Prime Minister | Voice of America

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will not travel to Tokyo later this week to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga after a Japanese diplomat made insulting comments about the South Korean leader.

from Japan Yomiuri The newspaper reported earlier Monday that the two leaders would meet in the Japanese capital on Friday to coincide with President Moon’s presence at the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics.

But South Korea’s presidential Blue House, Moon’s official residence and office, later announced that the president would not be attending.

Previous officials had suggested the meeting was in doubt due to an “obstacle” in final talks to organize the visit, an apparent reference to a comment by a high-level envoy attached to the Japanese embassy in Seoul.

The envoy, identified by South Korean news agency Yonhap as Hirohisa Soma, deputy head of mission at the embassy, ​​allegedly compared Moon’s efforts to improve ties with Seoul to sexual complacency in an interview. with a local reporter.

A statement from the Blue House said that although the talks produced a “significant level” of mutual understanding, the extent of progress was deemed “still insufficient” to guarantee a positive outcome at the top, according to Yonhap.

Relations between neighbors in East Asia have become acrimonious in recent years due to South Korea’s lingering bitterness over the brutal colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula by Japan from 1910 to 1945.

FILE – Portraits of late South Korean comfort women are on display near the Japanese embassy in Seoul, South Korea, April 21, 2021.

Dozens of Korean women were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during the war as “comfort women,” while thousands of other Korean women were forced to work in Japanese factories during this time.

Several surviving “comfort women” have sued South Korea to seek compensation from Japan for their ordeal, with mixed results. Tokyo maintains that it settled the matter under a 1965 treaty that normalized bilateral relations with Seoul, which included $ 800 million in reparations, as well as a separate agreement reached in 2015.

This report includes information from Reuters.

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