Japan PM's WWII speech: South Korea says it will review, China's Xinhua says it's not much help

 Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe during a news conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan on Aug 14, 2015.
Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe during a news conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan on Aug 14, 2015.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea said on Friday it would announce its position on a speech by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe marking the end of World War II 70 years ago after a close review.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se told his Japanese counterpart that action by Japan was more important than anything else, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said, suggesting that words alone were not enough.

Mr Abe on Friday expressed "utmost grief" for the suffering Japan inflicted in World War II, but said future generations of Japanese should not have to keep apologising for the mistakes of the past.

The legacy of the war still haunts relations with China and South Korea, which suffered under Japan's sometimes brutal occupation and colonial rule before Tokyo's defeat in 1945.

In another initial reaction, a commentary by China's official Xinhua news agency said the "tuned-down apology is not of much help to eliminating Tokyo's trust deficit".

It added: "Instead of offering an unambiguous apology, Abe's statement is rife with rhetorical twists like 'maintain our position of apology', dead giveaways of his deep-rooted historical revisionism, which has haunted Japan's neighbourhood relations."