South Korea urges improved ties with Japan
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has called on Japan to overcome historical disputes between both nations as a key step toward stability and security of the North Asian region.
President Yoon Suk-yeol made the comments at a ceremony to mark the 1945 end of Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean peninsula.
Yoon said Tokyo had become a partner in tackling threats to global freedom and urged both nations to overcome disputes dating to the days of Japan’s colonial rule.
“When Korea-Japan relations move towards a common future and when the mission of our times align, based on our shared universal values, it will also help us solve the historical problems,” Yoon said.
Relations between the U.S. allies have been strained over disputes such as Korean accusations that Japan forced women to work in wartime brothels for its military, and the use of forced labor, among other abuses.
Yoon, a conservative who took office in May, has vowed to improve ties with Japan.
He called for extensive cooperation in areas from economics and security to social and cultural exchanges, to help contribute to international peace and prosperity.
Yoon repeated a promise to provide North Korea with wide-ranging aid if Pyongyang stopped developing its nuclear program and embarked on a “genuine and substantive” process of eliminating such weapons.
“We will implement a large-scale food program; provide assistance for power generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure; and carry out projects to modernize ports and airports for international trade,” Yoon said.
He added that the South is also ready to help boost its neighbors’ farm productivity, modernize hospitals and medical facilities, and take steps for international investment and financial support.
North Korea has blamed the South for causing its COVID-19 outbreak – which Seoul denies.
The two nations technically remain at war, since their 1950-1953 conflict ended in a truce, rather than a peace treaty.