Korea expresses relief over Abe's comments on Japan war apologies
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[March 15, 2014]
By Narae Kim
SEOUL (Reuters) — South Korean President
Park Geun-hye expressed relief on Saturday over remarks by Japanese
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that his government would adhere to apologies
for wartime behavior made by past cabinets, in 1993 and 1995.
Ties with South Korea and China, already strained after Abe's
visit last December to the Yasukuni shrine, have deteriorated
further, with Japanese nationalist politicians urging Abe's cabinet
to rescind the apologies.
The apologies were issued by then chief cabinet secretary Yohei Kono
in 1993 and then premier Tomiichi Murayama in 1995.
"It is a relief that Prime Minister Abe announced his government
will uphold the Murayama statement and the Kono statement,"
President Park was quoted as saying by Blue House spokesman Min
"President Park also expressed hopes that this becomes an
opportunity in which we can alleviate the pain of the 'comfort
women' victims and solidify the bilateral relationship of South
Korea and Japan as well as that of Northeast Asia," Min added at a
briefing on Saturday.
The first apology recognized the involvement of Japanese authorities
in coercing women to work in military brothels and the next
concerned suffering caused by the war and the colonial rule imposed
on neighbors, including South Korea and China.
Amid mounting tension with neighbors and growing pressure by the
United States, Abe told a parliamentary panel on Friday that his
cabinet had no intention of reviewing the statements made by his
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Under pressure to improve ties with Seoul ahead of an April visit by
U.S. President Barack Obama, Tokyo has been trying to arrange a
meeting of Abe, Park and Obama on the sidelines of a global
nuclear-security summit in the Netherlands at the end of March.
(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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