South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong made a strong complaint about Japan’s move to have the mine on the island of Sado designated in the UNESCO World Heritage List during his first phone call with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.
According to the South Korean foreign ministry, Minister Chung said, “The Japanese government has decided to press ahead with the UNESCO designation of Sado mine, turning a blind eye to the painful history of the Koreans subjected to forced labor.” During the phone call, Minister Chung reiterated Seoul’s stance on various issues including the Korean women victimized by Japan’s sex slavery, Japan’s export restrictions, and the discharge of the radioactive water in Fukushima. It was the first conversation between the two foreign ministers since Minister Hayashi took office in November, and they did not hesitate to bring up all the perennial issues of sensitivity between the two neighbors.
The foreign ministry said Minister Chung expressed a “deep sense of disappointment and protest” to his Japanese counterpart during the conversation. The ministry is planning to hold a first task force meeting to block the designation of Sado mine in the UNESCO list on Friday.
Minister Chung also had a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss the repeated provocations from North Korea. “Both ministers expressed a strong concern about Pyongyang’s capacity for missile sophistication,” the ministry said. “They reaffirmed the principles of diplomatic resolution on the issues of the Korean Peninsula based on dialogues.”
Ji-Sun Choi firstname.lastname@example.org