On the anniversary of Japan's World War Two surrender, South Korea's president on Thursday urged Japan to contemplate its wartime past and offered to engage in talks to repair strained ties, while Japan pledged to never repeat the horrors of war, reports Trend referring to Reuters.

Relations between Japan and South Korea are arguably at their lowest ebb since they normalized ties in 1965, strained over the issue of South Korean forced labor during World War Two and a bitter trade row.

In a speech marking Korea's independence from Japanese rule, Moon toned down his recent harsh rhetoric towards Japan.

We hope that Japan will play a leading role together in facilitating peace and prosperity in East Asia while it contemplates a past that brought misfortune to its neighboring countries, Moon said in a nationally televised address.

Better late than never: if Japan chooses the path of dialogue and cooperation, we will gladly join hands.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday sent a ritual monetary offering to the controversial Yasukuni shrine for war dead in Tokyo and pledged to never repeat the horrors of war. He did not visit in person, an act which would have sparked a heated reaction from Seoul.

Bitter memories of Japan's 1910-1945 colonization of Korea have long plagued bilateral ties.

Abe, speaking at a ceremony honoring war dead, said the country had engraved the lessons of history deep in our hearts, and pledged never to repeat the devastation of war.

To create a peaceful new era full of hope, we will spare no effort in working with the international community, Abe said.

Relations between Washington's two Asia allies deteriorated after a ruling by South Korea's Supreme Court last year that Japanese companies should compensate South Koreans conscripted as forced laborers during World War Two. Tokyo says the matter was settled by a 1965 treaty normalizing ties.

The chill deepened when Japan ended South Korea's fast-track trade status this month, prompting Seoul to follow suit.

Tokyo has cited security concerns for its tightening of controls on exports to South Korea and denied it was retaliation over the forced labor feud. On Thursday, Japan's trade minister repeated his call for Seoul to explain its reason for revoking Japan's preferential export status.

Japanese and South Korean vice foreign ministers are likely to meet this week in Guam to discuss the issue, Japanese and South Korean media have reported.

Source: TREND News Agency