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President Roh Speaks Out On Diplomatic Row With Japan

Posted April. 08, 2005 23:32,   


President Roh Moo-hyun said that it was a severe misfortune for the entire world to have to live with those who refer to a past of invasion and atrocities gloriously, referring to Japan’s history distortion, according to the German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on April 8.

In the interview with the German newspaper, made prior to his state visit to Germany (on April 10), the president mentioned the issues related to the Dokdo islets and distortions in Japanese history textbooks, stressing that Japan’s attitude was not consistent with the universal values that all human societies should pursue together.

The president also said that the basic problem is that Japan is trying to beautify and justify its past military aggression. Then, for the first time in public, the president blasted the distortion of the history textbooks, saying that it is hard to expect a peaceful future if Japan continues to teach its young generation wrong education.

He added that Japanese politician’s visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors both Japan’s war dead and war criminals, is a huge insult not only to Koreans, but also to Chinese. He said that Japan had apologized a number of times in the past, but that its recent attitude has made those apologies meaningless.

When asked about the summit meeting between the North and the South, President Roh replied that the meeting is not planned yet since for now, it is hard to expect the North to accept the proposal of the talks. Then, the president added that if the DPRK National Defense Committee leader Kim Jong Il suggests, however, he is willing to have a meeting with the North Korean leader anytime, anywhere.

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com