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Pres. Lee Hopes Japanese Emperor Visits Korea Next Year

Posted September. 16, 2009 22:38,   


President Lee Myung-bak said yesterday that he hopes Japanese Emperor Akihito can visit Korea next year.

“I hope the visit will be last in that it will completely remove the emotional distance between Korea and Japan,” President Lee said in a joint interview to Yonhap News Agency of Korea and Kyoto News Agency of Japan at the presidential office. “I think if the visit comes by next year, it will hold significance for both countries.”

Next year will mark the centennial anniversary of Japan’s annexation of Korea.

“It is important for the Japanese emperor to visit Korea, but more important is how he will visit this country,” he said.

“Korea-Japan relations should not be dragged by the past but marching toward the future does not mean problems with past history does not exist at all.”

On the call for a constitutional amendment for a change in the power structure, the president said, “That cannot happen if we want to amend the Constitution too extensively. I think that the political circle needs to reduce the scope of an amendment in a cautious and realistic fashion.”

“Issues that could be considered for amendment could include a reshuffle in administrative districts and electoral constituencies, plus changes to executive powers and the power structure.”

Shifting to the proposed reshuffle of the electoral constituency system, President Lee said, “It is necessary for the political circle to consider using small and mid-size constituency systems simultaneously or a proportional representation system for (extensive) regions.”

On North Korea’s nuclear program, he said, “Following the North’s nuclear tests, the U.N. Security Council adopted resolutions led by the U.S. and Japan urging strong sanctions on the North,” adding, “The North is very perplexed since it is embracing a more tangible impact from sanctions than originally expected.”

“Since the North is sensing such risks, it is using somewhat reconciliatory policies toward the U.S., South Korea and Japan. But no hint of seriousness and a lack of signs suggest that Pyongyang is ready to give up its nuclear program at this point.”

He said the North apparently still wants to make its nuclear weapons program a done deal by dragging its feet and wasting time, while receiving economic assistance and cooperation.

President Lee will visit the U.S. Sept. 20-25 to attend the U.N. Summit on Climate Change, the U.N. General Assembly, and the third G20 financial summit.

He will deliver the keynote speech “Vision and Policy of a Global Korea Contributing to World Peace and Prosperity” at the U.N. General Assembly. He then will attend the G20 summit Sept. 24-25 in Pittsburgh, where he will emphasize the need for an “exit strategy” in preparation for clear recovery of the world economy.