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Cheong Wa Dae States Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi’s Remark is Presumptuous, Demands Reprimand

Cheong Wa Dae States Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi’s Remark is Presumptuous, Demands Reprimand

Posted May. 27, 2005 03:36,   


Regarding Japanese Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Shotaro Yachi’s recent remark that “Japan is hesitant to share intelligence and cooperate with South Korea since the U.S. does not seem to trust the country,” Cheong Wa Dae took issue on May 26 by saying, “The Japanese government should take due measures on the irresponsible conduct by an official in charge of foreign affairs.” This is interpreted de facto as a call for the Japanese government to reprimand Shotaro Yachi.

During a briefing on the results of the daily issue overview meeting presided over by Presidential Chief of Staff Kim Woo-sik on the same day, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Man-soo revealed the above, saying, “Vice Minister Yachi’s remark is far from the truth, as well as a discourtesy unimaginable in view of diplomatic protocol.”

Spokesman Kim further noted, “The fact that, before a summit meeting between South Korea and Japan, a high-ranking Japanese diplomatic official cast doubt on the trust in the bilateral relationship is quite presumptuous,” stressing, “His remark must not be overlooked for the sake of the future relationship between Korea and Japan.”

In response to the reporters’ question, “What measures can be taken against him?” Mr. Kim answered, “It is up to the Japanese government.” When asked, “If there is no due measure against him, will it be difficult to hold a South Korea-Japan summit meeting?” Mr. Kim replied, “The government will keep an eye on the Japanese government’s actions.”

Lee Kyu-hyung, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, also issued a statement on the same day in which he requested an official public apology from the Japanese government. He said, “Vice Minister Yachi’s remark is highly inappropriate and can undermine not only the relationship between South Korea and Japan but also that between South Korea and the U.S. It directly repudiates the existing trilateral alliance among South Korea, the U.S., and Japan.”

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Lee Tae-sik summoned Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Toshiyuki Takano on the afternoon of the same day, warning, “If the Japanese government does not take proper measures against him, it may significantly impact the general relationship between the two countries.”

In response, Ambassador Takano explained, “The context behind Vice Minister Yachi’s remark was that the existing structure of trilateral cooperation is important based on the circumstance surrounding North Korea,” adding, “To my knowledge, Vice Minister Yachi did not intend to undermine the relationship between South Korea and the U.S.”

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com