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Moon sends envoy to Nanjing Massacre memorial ceremony

Posted December. 14, 2017 07:38,   

Updated December. 14, 2017 08:42


South Korean President Moon Jae-in, on the first day of his visit to China on Wednesday, clearly conveyed Seoul’s condolences to the victims of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre by mentioning the atrocities by the Imperial Japanese military and sending South Korean ambassador to China Noh Young-min to a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the incident. Attention is drawn to the impact of Seoul-Beijing cooperation targeting Tokyo.

On Tuesday night, Noh moved to Nanjing, Jiangsu Province where the memorial ceremony would take place, instead of following the protocol of greeting President Moon at Beijing Capital International Airport.

“Originally, the (South Korean) consul general in Shanghai and a minister councilor at the embassy in Beijing were supposed to attend the memorial ceremony,” an official at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said. “But President Moon in person instructed the Korean ambassador to attend it, considering that it is China’s important national event.”

China’s state-run CCTV, which broadcast live the memorial ceremony at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall from 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, showed Korean Ambassador Noh twice. He did not make any public remarks nor met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, a South Korean embassy official said.

Some observers speculate that President Moon has emphasized history cooperation with Xi with a view to addressing Beijing’s protest against Seoul’s deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense antimissile system.

Separately, no North Korean official attended the ceremony despite China’s invitation, reflecting the worst ties between Pyongyang and Beijing.

Wan-Jun Yun zeitung@donga.com