South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se Expresses Regret Over Shinzo Abe Speech

kpopluv, May 1, 2015, 9:39 a.m.

Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se expressed regret Friday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe failed to acknowledge Japan's wartime wrongdoings in his congressional speech earlier this week.  Abe, in his speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, acknowledged the suffering his country brought to other Asian nations during World War II but offered no apology for its wartime crimes.

South Korea and other members of the international community had demanded an apology, especially over the Japanese Army's sexual enslavement of Korean and other Asian women during the war.  "It's regrettable that he himself missed a golden opportunity to state the correct view on history," Yun said in a meeting with the ruling Saenuri Party on foreign affairs and security issues. "The stable development of South Korea-Japan ties must be based on the correct perception of history."

 The minister also dismissed concerns that South Korea may be sidelined as its neighbors strengthen their ties through Abe's ongoing visit to the U.S. and Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent summit with the Japanese leader.

"In a situation where we are in constructive cooperation relations with China and upgrading the South Korea-U.S. alliance through the revision of our civil nuclear agreement, that interpretation goes too far," he said.

The minister raised objections to viewing relations among South Korea, Japan and the U.S. as a zero-sum game, in which a gain for one side translates into a loss for another. "The South Korea-U.S. alliance and the U.S.-Japan alliance have a complementary aspect and trilateral cooperation (among the three) is taking place within the necessary range," he said.

On the revised defense cooperation guidelines between the U.S. and Japan, which were announced earlier this week, Yun stressed that the government worked hard with each side to ensure that "full respect for a third nation's sovereignty" is spelled out in the text.

"This of course refers to South Korea, and there is no need to worry as it is impossible for Japan's Self-Defense Forces to enter our territory under any circumstance without our prior consent," Yun said.  The pact has drawn attention in South Korea because of the possibility that Japan could send its forces to help the U.S. in the event of a conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

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