South Korean President Park Geun Hye urged Japan on Wednesday to make efforts to create an atmosphere under which she could hold a summit meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
"Japan has done things hurting our people's scars like the issues on Dokdo and the 'comfort women' and an atmosphere should be created (for a summit with Abe) to move on in a 'future-oriented' manner," Park told reporters, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.
Dokdo, known as Takeshima in Japan, is a pair of islets controlled by South Korea and claimed by Japan and has been, together with the issue of South Korean women sexually exploited by Japanese soldiers before and during World War II, one of the main obstacles to improvement in bilateral relations.
Park said relations with Japan may deteriorate if Japan brings up Dokdo and the comfort women after a possible meeting with South Korea, further angering South Korean people who might then question the purpose of any bilateral talks.
"Efforts should be made to create an atmosphere (to hold a summit with Japan)," Park was quoted as saying.
Bilateral relations plunged in May when Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto ignited a furious public debate with his remark the use of hundreds of thousands of comfort women from countries such as South Korea and China was "necessary to maintain discipline" in the Japanese military.
The foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea agreed to repair ties on the sidelines of a regional security forum in Brunei last week.
"I believe this meeting provided the start for building multilayered, future-oriented Japan-South Korea relations," Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters after his first face-to-face talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se.