Park renews call for Japan's apology

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Park renews call for Japan's apology

Small screens show President Park Geun-hye as participants listen to her speech during a ceremony to commemorate the March 1, 1919 Independence Movement Day at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul, Sunday. / AP-Yonhap

By Kang Seung-woo


President Park Geun-hye renewed a call Sunday for Japan to own up to its wartime atrocities, including the sexual enslavement of Asian women, before jointly ushering in a new era of partnership.

"It is time for Korea and Japan to write a new history together for another 50 years, just as Germany and France became new leaders in the building of a new Europe after overcoming conflict and hostilities between each other," Park.

Park made the remark in a speech commemorating Korea's 1919 nationwide uprising movement against Japan's 1910-45 colonial occupation of the peninsula.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of normalization of diplomatic ties between the two nations and the 70th anniversary of Seoul's liberation from Tokyo.

Park denounced the Japanese leaders for maintaining a political shift to the right by pursuing militarism and urged them to change their political stance.

"The government has made efforts to enter a new era of cooperation between the two countries, but the historical disputes have strained bilateral relations despite their geographical proximity," she said.

Citing the elderly victims of the sexual enslavement, Park also pressed the Japanese government to quickly resolve the issue.

"The human rights issue of the survivors is an historical task that must be resolved. There is little time left to restore the honor of victims because their average age is reaching 90," Park said.

Approximately 200,000 women, many of them Koreans, were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War II, but the number of registered "comfort women" has decreased from 238 to 53.

Park also lashed out at Japan's attempt to gloss over its wartime aggression.

Earlier this year, Tokyo was found to have pressed a U.S. textbook publisher to revise a description of the sexual enslavement. This drew protest from American historical scholars, saying that such ceaseless moves have hurt Japan's relations with Korea.

The bilateral relations are at their worst ever due to the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Cabinet's denial of history and its claims to Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo.

Meanwhile, Park urged North Korea to break its silence on the South's proposal for talks, especially regarding the reunion of separated families.

"North Korea should not ignore inter-Korean dialogue anymore," she said.

The reclusive country has refused a proposal by the South for talks in retaliation to joint military exercises between Seoul and Washington and the cross-border distribution of anti-Pyongyang leaflets by North Korean defectors.

Park also stressed the need for vigorous inter-Korean exchanges at a non-governmental level in order to establish cultural homogeneity between the two Koreas.



Korean Language

與 "기념사 뒷받침" vs 野 "남북관계 실천 담보돼야"

여야는 1일 경제혁신과 개혁, 일본군 위안부 문제를 비롯한 일본의 역사인식, 남북관계 개선 필요성 등을 언급한 박근혜 대통령의 제96주년 3·1절 기념사에 대해 엇갈린 반응을 보였다.

새누리당은 집권여당으로서의 적극적인 뒷받침을 다짐하며 야당의 대승적 협조를 강조한 반면, 새정치민주연합은 특히 남북관계와 관련해 5·24조치 해제 등 우리 정부의 전향적 태도변화를 촉구했다. 

새누리당 권은희 대변인은 브리핑에서 '박 대통령의 오늘 경축사는 임기 3년차를 시작하는 시점에서 국가적 당면과제인 경제, 한일관계, 남북관계를 해결해 나가겠다는 강력한 의지로 해석한다'고 평가했다.  

권 대변인은 '새누리당은 집권여당으로서 대통령의 의지가 국정운영에 온전히 반영될 수 있도록 입법 등 모든 노력을 다해 뒷받침하겠다'고 말했다.

권 대변인은 '국가적 난제는 대통령 혼자 해결할 수 있는 문제가 아니다'면서 '대통령이 국가적 난제를 올바르게 풀어나가도록 야당도 대승적으로 협조해주길 당부한다'고 지적했다. 

새정치연합 서영교 원내대변인은 서면 브리핑에서 '온 민족이 함께 떨쳐 일어났던 3·1 정신을 제대로 계승하는 길은 남북이 대립과 반목을 넘어 하나 되는 길'이라면서 '북한은 핵개발과 군사적 도발 행태를 버려야 하며 우리 정부도 5·24 조치 해제 등 전향적인 태도변화를 통해 3·1절 96주년과 광복 70년을 맞이하는 올해를 통일의 초석을 닦는 한 해가 되도록 해야 한다'고 주문했다.

서 원내대변인은 '대통령께서 이산가족 상봉 정례화를 말씀하셨다'면서 '그러나 이를 위한 아무런 작업도 하지 않고 통일대박, 이산가족 (상봉) 정례화만 하자고 하는 것은 연례적인 말씀으로밖에 들리지 않는다'고 꼬집었다.

그는 '실천이 담보되지 않는 말로만의 통일정책은 이제 국민이 식상해한다'면서 '6·15 공동선언과 10·4 남북정상회담 합의문의 정신으로 되돌아가야 한다'고 덧붙였다. (연합뉴스)



Small screens show President Park Geun-hye as participants listen to her speech during a ceremony to commemorate the March 1, 1919 Independence Movement Day at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul, Sunday. / AP-Yonhap

By Kang Seung-woo


President Park Geun-hye renewed a call Sunday for Japan to own up to its wartime atrocities, including the sexual enslavement of Asian women, before jointly ushering in a new era of partnership.

"It is time for Korea and Japan to write a new history together for another 50 years, just as Germany and France became new leaders in the building of a new Europe after overcoming conflict and hostilities between each other," Park.

Park made the remark in a speech commemorating Korea's 1919 nationwide uprising movement against Japan's 1910-45 colonial occupation of the peninsula.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of normalization of diplomatic ties between the two nations and the 70th anniversary of Seoul's liberation from Tokyo.

Park denounced the Japanese leaders for maintaining a political shift to the right by pursuing militarism and urged them to change their political stance.

"The government has made efforts to enter a new era of cooperation between the two countries, but the historical disputes have strained bilateral relations despite their geographical proximity," she said.

Citing the elderly victims of the sexual enslavement, Park also pressed the Japanese government to quickly resolve the issue.

"The human rights issue of the survivors is an historical task that must be resolved. There is little time left to restore the honor of victims because their average age is reaching 90," Park said.

Approximately 200,000 women, many of them Koreans, were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War II, but the number of registered "comfort women" has decreased from 238 to 53.

Park also lashed out at Japan's attempt to gloss over its wartime aggression.

Earlier this year, Tokyo was found to have pressed a U.S. textbook publisher to revise a description of the sexual enslavement. This drew protest from American historical scholars, saying that such ceaseless moves have hurt Japan's relations with Korea.

The bilateral relations are at their worst ever due to the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Cabinet's denial of history and its claims to Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo.

Meanwhile, Park urged North Korea to break its silence on the South's proposal for talks, especially regarding the reunion of separated families.

"North Korea should not ignore inter-Korean dialogue anymore," she said.

The reclusive country has refused a proposal by the South for talks in retaliation to joint military exercises between Seoul and Washington and the cross-border distribution of anti-Pyongyang leaflets by North Korean defectors.

Park also stressed the need for vigorous inter-Korean exchanges at a non-governmental level in order to establish cultural homogeneity between the two Koreas.

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