Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa said Tokyo finds it regrettable that a Seoul court recently ruled in favor of former "comfort women" who are seeking compensation from the Japanese government as she held talks with South Korean counterpart Park Jin in Busan on Sunday.

Park told Kamikawa that South Korea "respects" the 2015 bilateral accord stating the issue was resolved "finally and irreversibly," while calling for bilateral efforts to "restore honor and dignity of the victims," according to a South Korean Foreign Ministry official.

The two foreign chiefs strongly condemned North Korea's recent military spy satellite launch using banned ballistic missile technology and reaffirmed their cooperation in addressing issues related to the North, the two governments said.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa (L) and her South Korean counterpart Park Jin shake hands in Busan, South Korea, on Nov. 26, 2023. (Pool photo)(Kyodo)

Kamikawa and Park, who met for about an hour and half ahead of their trilateral talks with China's top diplomat Wang Yi in the South Korean port city, shared "grave concerns" over Pyongyang's repeated missile firings and confirmed the two countries, together with the United States, will closely work on North Korean issues.

The North Korean issues include Pyongyang's arms trade with Russia and its past abductions of Japanese nationals, according to the press releases by the two countries' foreign ministries.

Park welcomed the recent improvement in Japan-South Korea ties, saying the two neighbors have "established a future-oriented relationship by expanding areas of cooperation in such fields as diplomacy, economy, security and people-to-people exchanges."

Kamikawa earlier criticized the Seoul High Court judgment issued Thursday as "extremely regrettable and absolutely unacceptable," urging South Korea to "immediately take appropriate measures to remedy the status of its breaches of international law on its own responsibility as a country."

The Seoul High Court denied the application of the concept of "sovereign immunity," which states that under international law a state cannot be tried in a court in another country. The plaintiffs in the suit are seeking compensation from Japan over the treatment of the women in wartime military brothels.

Japan has said all issues stemming from its 1910-1945 colonization of the Korean Peninsula were settled "completely and finally" under a 1965 bilateral agreement and that the 2015 accord resolved the comfort women issue.

Park later had a bilateral meeting with Wang and called on China to play a constructive role in pressing North Korea to stop additional provocations following the spy satellite launch and seeking its denuclearization, saying it is in the common interest of Beijing and Seoul, according to the South Korean Foreign Ministry.

Wang stressed that China has "always played and will continue to play a constructive role" in easing the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

A South Korean Foreign Ministry official said Wang expressed concerns over the current security situation in the region, in an apparent reference to Pyongyang's satellite launch and the deepening military cooperation between North Korea and Russia.

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