Seoul and Tokyo should settle their ongoing trade and diplomatic dispute through dialogue and cooperation.
That was the message delivered by Korea's vice foreign minister Lee Tae-ho, who spoke at a cultural exchange festival between South Korea and Japan on Sunday.
During his commemoration speech, he stressed the need to mend bilateral ties through dialogue and diplomacy.
"I hope the two countries can overcome their current challenges and resolve pending issues through dialogue and cooperation in a mature manner.
Also, bilateral issues should be resolved by facing up squarely to history, and cooperative efforts should be maintained aside from this matter."
The 'Korea-Japan Hanmadang Festival in Seoul', the biggest and longest-running cultural exchange program between the two countries, aims to build a friendly, cooperative relationships among their people.
Tokyo's Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Norikazu Suzuki was also among the guest list.
"Thousands of participants have gathered to take part in this year's event, marking its 15th anniversary under the theme '15 years of festivals, and a new tomorrow'."
The main highlight of the festival was a series of Korean and Japanese performances of their respective countries' traditional dance and martial arts practitioners.
"I was a little nervous since many people came out to see my performance. There are many Japanese people who like Korean culture, so I hope relations between the two countries can improve through these types of festivals."
Samulnori, a traditional Korean percussion ensemble, was also performed at the event, capturing the attention of many people from abroad.
Various other activities were also on hand at the festival, such as a chance to try on Korea's traditional clothing hanbok and Japan's kimono, as well as various games and food-tasting booths.
"Korea has a lot of delicious soups. Japan on the other hand, doesn’t have that many stew-type dishes, so I enjoy eating spicy Korean soups."
The event was held despite the deteriorating relations between Korea and Japan, triggered by Tokyo's adoption of new export curbs on Korea in early-July.
The same festival is scheduled to be held in Tokyo Hibiya Park on September 28th and 29th.
Kim Jae-hee, Arirang News.