During times of crisis and disaster, tense diplomatic relations are set aside for the moment. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a message of “heartfelt sympathy” to its neighbour South Korea, who is now mourning a ferry disaster that has claimed the lives of nine people with hundreds more still missing.
During a forum in Tokyo on Thursday, Abe said that Japan is thinking of South Korea during this moment of tragedy. “I extend my heartfelt sympathy towards people who were hit by the accident and their families,” he said on a personal note. Divers and rescue personnel are still looking for the more than 200 people who are still missing from the ferry that sank near Jeju Island, a popular holiday destination. Many of the ship’s 475 passengers are high school students from Ansan, a city that is near the country’s capital. The ship, which was built in Japan in 1994, can carry around 900 people and is 480 feet long and the reason why it capsized has still not been revealed.
When asked about the state of relations between the two countries, Abe simply said that he is still looking to building a “forward-looking relationship” with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye. The two met officially for the first time last month in a trilateral summit with US President Barack Obama.
[ via Channel News Asia ]
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