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New vice FM calls comfort women deal 'highly wrong' decision

All News 16:49 June 01, 2017

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- A new vice foreign minister of South Korea on Thursday denounced a 2015 deal over Japan's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women, calling it a "highly wrong" decision.

Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun, returned from India where he served as the country's ambassador, made the remarks during a meeting with reporters. He was chosen to be a second vice foreign minister late last month.

Asked what diplomatic decisions made under the previous government fell short of people's expectations, he cited the deal reached in December 2015.

Under the deal, Tokyo expressed an apology for its colonial-era atrocities and agreed to contribute 1 billion yen (US$9.97 million) to a foundation dedicated to supporting the surviving victims of sexual slavery. The organization was launched last year.

Critics doubt the sincerity of the apology as Japan refused to recognize its legal responsibility for the forced mobilization of the women. They also criticized that the deal was hastily arranged without sufficiently seeking the opinions of victims.

"When the deal was announced, I was traveling on business with a colleague. I told him that it is highly wrong and would cause a problem. It turned out I was right," he said.

Cho said that the decision was a representative case of a "top-down" decision-making process.


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