South Korean leader says Japan dishonest over wartime past

South Korean leader says Japan dishonest over wartime past
South Korean middle school students wave the national flags during a rally against Japan in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. Japan's downgrading of South Korea's trade status took effect Wednesday, a decision that has already set off a series of reactions hurting bilateral relations. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in has berated Japan for carrying out its plan to downgrade South Korea’s trade status and reiterated Seoul’s stance that Tokyo was weaponizing trade to retaliate over political rows stemming from the countries’ wartime history.

Moon said in a Cabinet meeting that Japan is being dishonest by insisting that its trade curbs weren’t retaliation over historical issues. He says Japan should look “squarely at the past” and that its current actions were aggravating the pain and anger of South Koreans who suffered under Japan’s brutal colonial rule of Korea before the end of World War II.

Later Thursday, the countries’ diplomats are expected to hold working-level meetings in Seoul to discuss the trade row and security issues related to North Korea.