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S. Korea leader raps Japan during Hagel meeting

By Hyung-Jin Kim

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 04:03 a.m. HST, Sep 30, 2013

SEOUL » South Korea's president on Monday (Sunday in Hawaii) criticized Japan over historical and territorial disputes during a meeting with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Seoul and Tokyo have long bickered over the ownership of tiny islets, a Japanese war shrine and other issues stemming from Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-1945. Their ties have further soured due to recent nationalistic events and remarks in Japan.

On Monday, President Park Geun-hye brought up the issue of South Koreans' resentment when Hagel visited her during a four-day trip and expressed hopes for improved ties between Seoul and Japan.

"I know Japan is an important country to cooperate with for peace and stability in Northeast Asia ... but the trust has not been established due to the (Japanese) leadership which has repeatedly made regressive remarks" on history and territorial issues, Park said, according to a statement from her office.

Park said many South Koreans are still suffering from the Japanese occupation, such as elderly Korean women who served as wartime sex slaves for Japanese troops during the World War II.

"They've lived with deep (mental) scars but Japan has leveled insults against them rather than offering an apology," Park said. She said Tokyo must show a sincere attitude to address the issue.

Conservative Japanese politicians such as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have acknowledged "comfort women" existed, but deny they were coerced into prostitution, citing a lack of official evidence. Abe's support for revising Japan's pacifist Constitution and raising the profile of its military has also fueled unease in neighboring countries.

Despite their harsh history, South Korea and Japan are important trading partners. Both are U.S. allies and members of now-dormant international disarmament talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

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cojef wrote:
Takes time to heal old wounds that resulted from the occupation by Japan on their Korean homeland. However, the issue of disputes over some small islands mitigate the bigger problem of nuclear threat by North Korea which plagues even world peace. On the other side of the coin the young current conservative Japanese Prime Minister bears watching as he is bent on revising their pacifist Constitution. His only background with tragedies of war is the reconstruction of his country after the devastion we inflicted upon their nation. Additionally, in the nuclear age the stakes are too high for their country to return to the former self. The cost to human lives are too great to pursue that path. South Korea's future on the other hand is to proceed in the path of peaceful co-existence and pursue their greatness in the modern electronic age. Matsushita which deposed General Electric as the premier electronic giant, in turn has been replaced currently by Samsung. South Korea's greatness lies on the path to econimic greatness if it can maintain this superiority by continuing to be inventive and leader of the pack in the electronic industry. To lose sight of these economic goals, will only in turn make it easier for the Chinese to replace them.
on September 30,2013 | 06:02AM
cojef wrote:
oops sent for approval for what I do not know or care if the censor hads any grudge in what I say. it did not use any language that could considered indiscreet, but events as it unfolded in the present world.
on September 30,2013 | 06:55AM
hunebasami wrote:
don't talk bad about UH football. They did it to me, too. They think 0-4 is right on. What winners.
on September 30,2013 | 11:05AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
Japan needs to reconcile their past misdeeds. Remember the "Rape of Nanking"? Go forward with a clear conscience Japan.
on September 30,2013 | 07:36AM
hunebasami wrote:
We should blame what your grandfather did and for you to say sorry to the Japanese, too.
on September 30,2013 | 11:07AM
engineersoldier wrote:
Why would she say these things to Hagel? Surely she did not expect him to rebuke an important ally. Must have been for domestic consumption--to show she is tough on the old enemy.
on September 30,2013 | 08:50AM
false wrote:
We need more comfort ladies, now called masseuses, in Hawaii, to put more smiles on our faces.
on September 30,2013 | 09:12AM
nuuanusam wrote:
Japan had done some atrocities during the war, and beyond any doubt, it was wrong. A couple of generations had past and two of their prime ministers had apologized. The people who decided to go to war, you can count them with one hand, most of the citizens had no saying. The current Japanese generation is different. WWII is a tragic event and let's learn from it. Let's not hold a 70 years old grudge fill our thought with hatred; otherwise we'll be like the Communist Chinese government channel the peoples' anger against their corruption by creating a common enemy as a target.
on September 30,2013 | 10:11AM
hunebasami wrote:
Living in hate you will never more on to the future. Look at Korea in the middle between Japan and China. The number 2 and 3 economy behind United States. Where is Korea living in the pass not the for the future.
on September 30,2013 | 11:12AM
sailfish1 wrote:
Every country in the past has committed atrocities whether they were at war or not. If Korea cannot get over it, they should cut off relations and trade with Japan. South Korea cannot even reconcile differences with their own kind in the North. Complaining to Hagel won't do them any good.
on September 30,2013 | 07:15PM
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