South Korean President Park Geun Hye is asking Japan’s leaders to show “brave leadership” as the two countries try to resolve present-day diplomatic relations that are mostly steeped in the issues from the colonial rule from 1910-1945 over the Korean Peninsula. Meanwhile, China unsurprisingly criticized Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for sending a ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine through a representative.
Park said in her speech delivered at a ceremony commemorating Japan’s surrender during World War II that the past wounds need to be healed in order for them to be a “partner for a genuine cooperation”. She also called on the Japanese government to take “responsible and sincere measures” for those who are still suffering from past wounds, in a reference to the thousands of comfort women who were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese Imperial Army. She acknowledged that Japan is a crucial part of building peace and prosperity in the region but recent events that arise from their history have made relations difficult. “It would be difficult to build trust needed to move into the future without being courageous in looking squarely into the past and having the attitude of being considerate of others’ sufferings,” she concluded.
China, another country that has difficult relations with Japan now, has lambasted Abe for his offering at the Yasukuni Shrine, which Japan’s former colonies find offensive given that it pays tribute even to the convicted war criminals. They question the sincerity of the prime minister in his quest to improve ties between the two countries. While Abe himself did not go to the shrine in a bid to appease his critics, they still consider it unacceptable. Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin has also summoned Japan Ambassador to China Masato Kitera to lodge “solemn representations” regarding the visit of over 100 government officials, including two cabinet members, to the controversial shrine.
[via Straits Times]