The United States on Monday welcomed the rare celebrations that South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo attended to mark half a century of relations between the two sides, saying it looks forward to the relations getting “broader and deeper”.
He added that exacerbating the weariness of Japanese people was what was perceived as South Korea’s “tattle-tell” diplomacy in which Park would complain to foreign leaders about historical issues with Japan.
Of more practical significance, the Japanese prime minister also emphasized the importance of confronting disputes that have presented a far bigger barrier than the narrow sea that separates the two countries.
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and his Japanese counterpart Humio Kisida reach out hands to shake hands ahead of a meeting in Tokyo on Sunday.
Progressive civic groups from South Korea and Japan hold a campaign in downtown Tokyo, calling for a reset to South Korea-Japan relations this year, which is the 50th anniversary of the establishment of relations, June 20.
Park risks being diplomatically outmaneuvered by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has moved to overcome similar historical animosities with China and has now held two meetings with President Xi Jinping. His visit to Tokyo followed a meeting in May of the nations’ defense ministers-the first since 2011.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry claims that seven of the 23 sites were run as forced labor camps where over 57,000 Koreans worked and 94 workers died during Japan occupation of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945.
South Korea says Japan has not atoned correctly for its conduct throughout World War Two, together with its position in forcing ladies, many of them Korean, into prostitution in army brothels.
Those tensions have been exacerbated by a territorial dispute over a cluster of guano-covered islets known as Takeshima to the Japanese and Dokdo to the Koreans, and more recently over Japan’s efforts to gain UNESCO recognition for industrial sites where Korea says its citizens were forced to work in servitude.
Park said in a recent interview with the Washington Post that “there has been considerable progress on the issue of the comfort women” and the two countries were “in the final stage” of Tokyo-Seoul negotiations.
The role is based on a report released in February by the Commission of Inquiry, a UN panel tasked with probing human rights in the North, wrapping up its one-year-old inquiry on the issue, according to South Korea’s (Yonhap) News Agency.
South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se sat down with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida at the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Ikura Guesthouse on the afternoon of June 21 for a roughly 90-minute meeting to discuss major issues such as the comfort women and a possible summit. Foreign ministers from Ja…
Still, a south Korean official later told reporters at the reception that park was meant to “softly” stress that japan needs to take steps and she didn’t mean that the sides should put down the burden of the past history without preconditions.
Ex- South Korean comfort women survivors are still suing the Japanese government and demand compensation and apology.
“I sincerely hope that pending issues will be resolved smoothly so that this year, the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations, can serve as the starting point for the two countries’ new future”, Park said in the message.