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Roh, Koizumi Fail to Reach an Agreement on History Issues

Roh, Koizumi Fail to Reach an Agreement on History Issues

Posted June. 21, 2005 07:43,   


South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi held a summit at Sangchunjae, a guesthouse in Cheong Wa Dae, Seoul, yesterday and discussed the controversial historical issues and the North Korean nuclear standoff.

President Roh urged his Japanese counterpart to cease visiting Yasukuni Shrine, saying, “[His] visits to the shrine mar the sincerity of the apologies offered by the former Japanese leaders for the country’s past wrongdoings,” and suggested setting up a new monument.

The prime minister responded, “We will take into account the Japanese public sentiment and other factors, and consider building an alternative monument to Yasukuni, where major war criminals are also enshrined.”

The two leaders agreed to launch the second Korea-Japan Joint Committee for historical studies, and establish a subcommittee for history textbook studies. They also promised to make efforts to reflect the study results during the compilation of the history textbooks of the two countries.

After the summit, President Roh announced, “We had candid discussions on issues such as his historical viewpoint, the Japanese history textbook, and his visits to Yasukuni Shrine,” but added, “We failed to reach agreements on those issues.”

Roh also offered Koizumi a detailed explanation of last week`s meeting between South Korean Unification Minister Chung Dong-young and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. The two leaders reconfirmed their determination to solve the North Korean nuclear standoff by close cooperation among South Korea, the United States, and Japan.

Mr. Koizumi pledged to return the remains of South Koreans forcibly conscripted during the Japanese colonial rule, to return the bukgwandaecheopbi (a stone monument commemorating Korea’s victory over Japan in a battle of the 16th century), to provide support to Korean atomic bomb victims and Koreans living in Sakhalin, and to add flights between Kimpo Airport in Korea and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com