China urges joint efforts with S. Korea against Japan on sex slaves
BEIJING, Jan. 16 (Yonhap) -- China called for joint efforts with South Korea Thursday to press Japan to resolve a long-running grievance regarding women forced into sexual slavery by Japan's military during World War II, calling it a "severe anti-human crime."
China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the comments to journalists at a daily briefing, when asked about a spending bill, passed on Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives, with an attachment calling for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to encourage Japan to address the issue of wartime sexual slavery.
More than 200,000 women and girls, most of them from Korea and China, were coerced into sexual servitude at front-line Japanese brothels during World War II, when Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula and contolled parts of China. They were known euphemistically as "comfort women."
"The forceful recruitment of comfort women was a severe anti-human crime committed by Japanese militarism during World War II against people from victimized countries such as China, the ROK (South Korea) and Southeast Asian countries," Hong said.
"China and the ROK share similar experiences and common concerns on Japan-related historical issues," Hong said.
"Together with the ROK, as well as other victimized countries from Asia, China will urge the Japanese side to adopt a correct view of history, reflect deeply upon history and win the trust of its Asian neighbors as well as the international community with concrete actions," Hong said.
The matter is one of the most emotional issues between South Korea and Japan over their shared history.
South Korea has repeatedly called on Japan to resolve the issue with a sense of urgency because most victims are elderly and may die before they receive compensation or an apology from Tokyo.
Japan has so far ignored Seoul's demand for official talks on the matter, claiming all issues regarding its colonial rule were settled in a 1965 package compensation deal reached when the two established diplomatic relations.