South Korea says it will prioritize victims of forced labor during Japan's colonial rule as it forms its official stance on the sensitive issue amid growing tensions with Japan. 

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha relayed the government's position before the National Assembly’s Special Committee on Budget and Accounts on Friday. She said it's the government's duty to help the victims recover from their traumatic experiences swiftly and as much as possible. 

She said they are in the process of forming a joint committee with experts in the private sector to analyze the South Korean Supreme Court’s recent decision ordering a Japanese firm to compensate Korean forced labor victims.

She said based on the committee’s work, the government will craft its stance through a meeting presided over by the prime minister. 

The minister also refuted criticism that Seoul has been lukewarm over a series of provocative remarks made by top Japanese officials against the court ruling, saying Seoul is protesting and expressing regret via diplomatic channels.

[Photo : YONHAP News]