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Home » International » South Korea, Japan are partners as they overcome ‘painful past’: Yoon Suk Yeol

South Korea, Japan are partners as they overcome ‘painful past’: Yoon Suk Yeol


Seoul, March 1

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Friday said that Seoul and Japan are partners in the pursuit of global peace and prosperity as they work to overcome their “painful past” and move toward a new future.

Yoon Suk Yeol made the remark as he marked the 105th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement against Japanese colonial rule, a watershed event during Japan’s 1910-45 brutal occupation of the Korean Peninsula, Yonhap news agency reported.

“Now, Korea and Japan are working together to overcome the painful past,” he said during a commemoration ceremony at the Memorial Hall of Yu Gwan-sun in Seoul. “Sharing the values of freedom, human rights and the rule of law, our two countries have become partners in the pursuit of common interests for global peace and prosperity.”

Yoon Suk Yeol cited efforts under his administration to strengthen bilateral cooperation against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and build partnerships across industries.

“If Korea and Japan build trust through mutual exchanges and cooperation and work together to resolve difficult challenges that history has left us, we will be able to usher in a new and brighter future for our bilateral relations,” he said. “I hope that the 60th anniversary of Korea and Japan normalising diplomatic relations next year will serve as an opportunity to take our bilateral relationship to a higher level, one that is more productive and constructive.”

He also said the independence movement will be made complete only when the Korean Peninsula achieves a unification that brings freedom and abundance to everyone, noting the repressive rule of the North Korean regime.

“Now, we must move toward a free, unified Korean Peninsula where the people are its rightful owners,” he said, noting the need to draw on the help of the international community.

“The tyranny and human rights abuses of the North Korean regime deny the universal values of humanity. Unification is precisely what is needed to expand the universal values of freedom and human rights,” he said.

President Yoon reiterated his commitment to helping the North Korean people, including defectors to the South, citing the government’s designation of July 14 as North Korean Defectors’ Day.

He also recalled that North Korea recently labeled the South its “primary foe” and “invariable principal enemy,” saying, “This is truly deplorable.”

Meanwhile, President Yoon called attention to the various types of independence movements that were carried out under colonial rule, including those who engaged in armed struggle and others who pursued diplomacy around the world or initiated educational and cultural movements to empower Koreans with necessary skills

“The blood and sweat of these independence activists enabled our country’s independence and became the foundation of the Republic of Korea,” he said, referring to South Korea by its formal name. “I believe that the significance of all of these independence movements must be duly recognised and their history should be passed down correctly generation after generation.”

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