U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of the House Armed Services Committee said that Japan's wartime sexual enslavement of women is inextricably linked to the U.S.' strategic rebalancing plan toward Asia.
"Avoidance of this issue will continuously distract and cause strife in the trilateral relationship impacting our strategic goals and missions in the region," she said in a committee meeting last Thursday.
"These unresolved historical conflicts will ultimately undermine regional military cooperation and the trilateral relationship between the U.S., [South Korea] and Japan as a whole," she added. "Japanese statements such as 'Comfort Women were necessary' and 'Comfort Women were not coerced' -- essentially calling them prostitutes --will only hinder the trilateral relationship, whether it is economically, politically or militarily."
She recalled that U.S. President Barack Obama during a recent Asia visit called the abuse of the sex slaves "terrible and egregious," adding that "there should be an accurate and clear account of what happened."
Meanwhile, the committee unanimously passed a bill that supports a review of the timing of the transfer of full operational control of South Korean troops to Seoul.
It stipulates that Seoul and Washington can review the date slated for 2015 due to the changing security environment in the region, including nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.
The bill endorses a recent agreement between Obama and President Park Geun-hye.