An attempt at reconciliation between Seoul and Tokyo is underway as South Korean President Moon Jae-in conveyed a friendly gesture towards Japan with offers of "joining hands" as relations between the two countries is threaten to hit fresh lows, AFP reported on Sunday, August 18th.
Both of the two countries are democracies and evolving market economies, yet they have recently been locked in long-running disputes over Japan's use of forced labour in the first half of the 20th century.
A recent brawl over an issue regarding lists of trusted trading partners this month has left the two neighbours embroiled in a tit-for-tat trade war, raising concerns for global supply chains.
That came after Tokyo imposed restrictions on exports crucial to tech giants such as Samsung last month, following a series of South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese firms to pay for wartime labour.
Moon introduced ways to ease the conflict on Thursday when he assured Seoul's' willingness to work with Tokyo to ensure fair trade, adding that cooperation is only viable with Japan's consent.
Dressed in a pale grey-blue hanbok, the traditional Korean attire, Moon, who earlier this month vowed South Korea would "never be defeated again by Japan", insisted that Seoul has "not dwelt on the past", and that the past conflicts should only be viewed lessons.
Tokyo nonetheless maintains that all issues of wartime compensation were settled under the 1965 treaty that re-established diplomatic ties, including a package of about $800 million in grants and cheap loans for the former colony.