China hopes S. Korea, Japan to improve ties after deal on wartime sex slaves

December 28, 2015

BEIJING (Yonhap) — China said Monday it hopes South Korea-Japan ties will improve after Seoul and Tokyo reached a landmark deal on the issue of Korean women forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese army during World War II.

China’s foreign ministry Lu Kang made the remarks during a regular press briefing shortly after top diplomats of South Korea and Japan held talks in Seoul earlier in the day, during which Tokyo agreed to fulfill its responsibilities over the issue.

“We hope to see an improvement of bilateral relationship between the Japanese and South Korean side throughout the deal,” Lu told reporters.

Lu repeated China’s long-standing position over the issue, calling Japan’s forced mobilization of women as sex slaves during the war as a “grave crime.”

The issue of former Korean sex slaves has long been a thorn in diplomatic ties between Seoul and Tokyo as Japan’s conservative politicians have not done enough to resolve the long-standing grievance regarding the Korean victims.

According to historians, up to 200,000 women, mostly Koreans, were coerced into sexual servitude at front-line Japanese brothels during World War II when the Korean Peninsula was a Japanese colony. Those sex slaves were euphemistically called “comfort women.”

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