By Yoo Seungki
SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye has urged Japanese leaders to perceive history in a straightforward way, revealing her doubts about whether Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would inherit past apologies made by his predecessors.
"I hope to move towards future-oriented relationship with Japan based on correct understanding of history, "Park said in an interview with CNN, according to the statement posted Tuesday on the website of the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. "It has been my desire to leave to my future generations a legacy of friendship and a legacy of being able to work together," Park said.
Park urged the current Japanese leaders to honor the past apologies made by former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono and former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama. "We were able to move forward with Korea's relationship with Japan over the years because Japanese political leaders have clearly stated through the Murayama as well as the Kono statement their correct understanding of history and this has allowed us to move our relationship forward," said Park.
Murayama said in his 1995 speech that Japan"caused tremendous damage and suffering to the peoples of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations" through its colonial rule and aggression following a mistaken national policy that led to war.
Two years earlier, Kono made an official apology to comfort women, or South Korean women forced to be mobilized by Japan as sex slaves during the World War II.
Park's comments came amid the frayed ties between Seoul and Tokyo after Japan's cabinet members visited the controversial Yasukuni shrine, a symbol of Japan's militarism with 14 class-A convicted war criminals enshrined.
The South Korea's first woman leader has harshly denounced the Japanese leadership for no repentance over its past brutalities during the colonial rule of South Korea from 1910 to 1945, citing the sex slaves who served in the Japanese military brothels during the World War II.
Park had yet to hold summit with Abe though her predecessors selected Japan as the second destination for their overseas trip. Park made a state visit to China in June last year for summit talks after visiting the United Sates a month earlier. "Park's comments on the Kono and Murayama statements reveal her doubts about Abe's pledge. Abe recently vowed to inherit past governments (including past apologies)," Jin Chang-soo, director of Japan study at a private Sejong Institute in Seoul, told Xinhua on Tuesday.
Jin said that Japan should make clear its position on the historical issue as relations between Seoul and Tokyo have been developed based on its apology over past atrocities, forecasting that given the recent visits of Japanese politicians to the war- linked shrine, summit talks between Park and Abe will not be held in a foreseeable future.
Abe showed his willingness to seek dialogue with South Korea as well as China, but Park has dismissed the call for a summit citing the anachronistic history perceptions of Japanese leaders.
Park said in an interview with Bloomberg last week that the Abe government has repeated words and acts, which deny and reverse past apologies such as the Kono and Murayama statements that Japan had officially sustained.
Asked about whether to shake hands with Abe at the Davos forum, Park said that it cannot be a matter of a hand-shake, noting that South Korea cannot pretend nothing has happened in relations with Japan.
Park and Abe will be in Davos, Switzerland next week for the World Economic Forum.
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"If the Japanese side takes steps of provocation and escalation on the Diaoyu Islands issue, China will surely stand up to them, and Japan must bear all the ensuing consequences," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily press briefing. Full story
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MOSCOW, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine and his government's provocative policies towards neighboring countries are leading Japan in a very dangerous direction, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui said Friday.
In an article published by Russia's Interfax news agency, Li strongly condemned Abe's Dec. 26 visit to the shrine, which honors Japan's war dead, including 14 convicted class-A World War II war criminals. Full story
Abe's shrine visit sends out worrying signal: Chinese envoy
EDINBURGH, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine sent out a signal that should worry the world, said a Chinese envoy on a local Scottish newspaper on Friday.
In a signed article published by The Scotsman, Li Ruiyou, Chinese Consul General in Edinburgh, said Abe's visit to the shrine on Dec. 26, 2013 triggered a great deal of anger and condemnation by the peoples and governments of China, South Korea and other Asian countries. Full story
Abe's war shrine visit mirrors unrepentant view of Japan's wartime aggression: Chinese ambassador
WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent homage at a controversial war-linked shrine mirrors the unrepentant view of Japan's wartime aggression and undermines his stated aim to increase Japan's engagement in safeguarding world peace, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai said Thursday.
In an opinion piece published on The Washington Post website, Cui said the dispute over Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine is about more than symbolism because it reveals his real intention for Japan's future and casts doubt upon his willingness to build an atmosphere of trust, respect and equality in East Asia. Full story
S. Korean FM repeats condemnation of shrine visit in Japan
SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's top diplomat repeated his condemnation of Japanese politicians for their visit to the controversial war shrine, describing the visit as a big stumbling block to peace and cooperation in the region.
"As seen in the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, the history-revisionist attitude of Japan's political leadership brought isolation upon itself and served as a big stumbling block to peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia," Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said in his New Year's message on Thursday. Full story
Abe's shrine visit bombshell of disappointment for Japan, neighbours
BEIJING, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Four days after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, disappointment and condemnation over his reckless move are still mounting.
Singapore on Sunday expressed its regrets over Abe's visit, fearing that his act "is likely to evoke further negative feelings and reactions in the region." Full story
Commentary: Abe's shrine visit a flagrant denial of justice
BEIJING, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo that honors Japan's war dead including convicted war criminals in World War II is but a flagrant denial of the just trials of Japanese warmongers guilty of crimes against humanity.
Abe on Thursday visited the war shrine, which has been seen as a symbol of Japan's past militarism as it enshrines 14 Class-A WWII war criminals. Full story