04:00 GMT19 April 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in has dismissed the vice ministers of diplomatic, defence and Korean unification affairs amid a deadlock in talks with Japan over compensation for South Korean labourers made to work during Tokyo’s colonial rule, Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday.

    Mr Moon has appointed Chancellor of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA) Cho Sei-young as the country's first vice foreign minister, calling him as "a diplomat well-versed in Northeast Asia, especially Japan issues." Former Presidential Secretary for unification Suh Ho became the new vice unification minister and Park Jae-min was appointed defense minister, the Yonhap news agency says.

    All new officials were chosen due to their understanding of and agreement with Moon's goals, his spokesperson said.

    Relations between Tokyo and Seoul worsened in October after South Korea’s top court ordered a Japanese steel-maker to pay compensation to former Korean labourers the company forced to work back in the World Was II. Other Japanese companies have since faced similar requests.

    READ MORE: Over 50 South Koreans Seeking WWII Reparations Sue 9 Japanese Firms — Reports

    On 20 May, Japan issued a request for arbitration in the historical dispute, and the South Korean government reacted by saying that it would thoroughly consider the issue.

    Japan ruled over the Korean Peninsula, then its colony, from 1910 to 1945. In 2005, the two countries signed an agreement in which South Korea agreed never to make further compensation demands, either at the government or individual level, after receiving $800 million from Japan as restitution for its colonial rule.

    reshuffle, colonial rule, dispute, compensation, Moon Jae-in, Japan, South Korea
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