December 19, 2017 / 6:34 AM / 2 years ago

Japan minister says agrees with South Korea that China's role vital on North Korea

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono speaks during a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., December 15, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan and South Korea agreed on Tuesday on the importance of China’s role in dealing with the threat from North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters after meeting his South Korean counterpart.

The two U.S. allies are seeking to boost cooperation over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, despite lingering tension between them over the issue of “comfort women”, a Japanese euphemism for women - many of them Korean - forced to work in Japanese military brothels before and during World War Two.

Ties have been frozen over the issue, with South Korean President Moon Jae-in promising to renegotiate a 2015 pact signed with Japan that is unpopular in South Korea.

Reporting by Linda Sieg; Editing by Robert Birsel

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