SEOUL, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha will meet one-on-one with her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on the sidelines of an international conference in Paris later this week, her ministry said Tuesday.
Tensions over Japan's wartime forced labor are expected to be a key topic when the two top diplomats hold talks on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) set for Wednesday and Thursday.
Kang was set to depart for Paris later Tuesday and is expected to meet with Kono on Thursday.
The meeting will take place as relations between the two countries have chilled in recent months in the wake of the South Korean Supreme Court's rulings late last year that ordered Japanese companies to compensate Koreans for forced labor during World War II.
On Monday, Japan lodged a fresh request with the South Korean government to form an arbitration panel involving a third country member in line with a 1965 accord that stipulates such a procedure regarding a dispute settlement.
Seoul said it would look prudently into Tokyo's request, although many observers believe it is unlikely to take any real steps to establish the panel.
South Korea has maintained that the government does not intervene in matters that are being sought by individuals and decided by the judiciary that exists independently of the government.
Tokyo's move has been seen as a bid to legitimize its complaint over the tepid stance by Seoul regarding the court rulings. Japan has long argued that the reparation issues were all settled under the 1965 agreement that normalized bilateral ties after Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea.
The Korean victims are seeking to seize or liquidate the local assets of the Japanese companies involved in the case as they refuse to comply with the court rulings.
During the two-day OECD gathering, Kang will also hold talks with the foreign ministers of Peru and France. She is also scheduled to attend high-level sessions that will address various topics in relation to world economic outlook, sustainability and digital transformation.
The South Korean delegation will also include Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, First Vice Finance Minister Lee Seung-ho and Second Vice Science Minister Min Won-ki.
Source: Yonhap news Agency