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South Korea to continue efforts to improve ties with Japan: Moon

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    Kyodo News

Seoul, South Korea   /   Mon, January 11, 2021   /   11:30 am
South Korea to continue efforts to improve ties with Japan: Moon South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks on the occasion of the third anniversary of his inauguration at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, May 10, 2020. (Reuters/Kim Min-Hee)

South Korean President Moon Jae In said Monday he will continue efforts to build a "future-oriented" relationship with Japan as he delivered his New Year's speech.

Moon made no reference to a recent South Korean court ruling ordering the Japanese government to pay compensation to women forced to work at wartime military brothels.

It is the latest in a series of South Korean court rulings since 2018 awarding damages over Japan's colonial rule, with each being at the heart of a deterioration in diplomatic relations between the Asian neighbors.

The South Korean court last week ordered Japan to compensate South Korean plaintiffs for suffering "inhumane criminal acts" at the hand of the country.

Moon reiterated his hope a turning point in inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea dialogue can be reached with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden taking office later in the month.

"The government, while strengthening the alliance with the United States in accordance with the advent of the Biden administration, will try to bring a significant turnaround in US-North Korea talks and inter-Korean talks that have been at a stalemate," said Moon.

Moon also expressed his hope for "co-existence and peace" between the two Koreas.

As for the coronavirus pandemic, Moon vowed to make utmost efforts toward an economic recovery while promising to offer all South Koreans free vaccines starting next month.