During the second cabinet meeting of the year, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn expressed concern about the voices from Korea and Japan regarding the countries' bilateral comfort women agreement -- saying that any words or actions that could endanger relations between the two countries are inappropriate.
Tokyo re-called its top diplomats in Korea back late last week in protest against a statue installed in Busan to commemorate the Korean victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery while Seoul's opposition parties have been calling for a re-negotiation of the deal or to scrap it altogether, neither of which the governments say is feasible.
"At its core, the agreement on Japan's wartime sexual slavery aims to recover the dignity and wounds of the victims. The governments of Korea and Japan must respect the spirit of the parties involved in the agreement, and work toward further developing our bilateral relations."
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Prime Minister Hwang also touched on the annual policy briefings scheduled to wrap up on Wednesday, and asked civil servants to dedicate themselves to state affairs given the gravity of the current political situation and ensure the public can feel the effects of the government's policies.
On the financial front, he ordered reinforced risk management against external uncertainties in currency policy and interest rates and making sure the government budget is executed in the first quarter as planned in order to boost domestic sentiment.
"We must especially focus on facilitating domestic demand, as the recovery in exports and domestic consumption could lead to a rebound in economic sentiment."
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The acting president also called on the National Assembly to pass bills related to improving people's livelihoods during an extraordinary session this month.
Song Ji-sun, Arirang News.