Korea allows KORAIL chief to visit N. Korea

Park slams Japan for 'digging up past wounds' after Abe's shrine visit

Park slams Japan for 'digging up past wounds' after Abe's shrine visit

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Published : 2013-12-30 15:27
Updated : 2013-12-30 15:27

South Korean President Park Geun-hye slammed Japan Monday for "digging up wounds of the past" after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid his respects at a war shrine last week in a move seen as an attempt to glorify the country's militaristic past.

Abe made the visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine on Thursday, sparking angry protests from South Korea and China. The shrine honors Japan's war dead, including class A criminals. Abe was the first Japanese prime minister to visit the shrine in more than seven years.

South Korea and China, which suffered from Japan's aggression in the early 20th century, have long resented visits to the war shrine by Japanese leaders, and the latest visit was considered a flagrant disrespect for Japan's neighbors. Korea was a Japanese colony from 1910-45.

"In the new year ... I hope that there will be no act of letting trust between countries crash and people's feelings deteriorate by digging up wounds of the past," Park said during a meeting with senior aides. The remark was apparently directed at Japan, though she did not mention it by name.

Should a country repeat acts that do not match universal values and standards of the international community, it can never be assessed as a first-class nation, no matter how affluent it is, Park said in another allusion to Japan, the world's third-largest economy.

Park also said that just because a country is a front-runner does not mean it is a first-class nation. Any country can become the front-runner by defeating others, but it is more difficult to become a first-class nation because it must meet the requirement of respecting others.

Park, meanwhile, urged the rival parties to approve the national budget for next year.

"Today is the day when the ruling and opposition parties agreed last week to handle the budget bill," she said. "This is also a promise to the people, and I anticipate the budget bill will be handled without fail."

She also called for approval of a revised tax law and other key bills. "Only after these bills pass can the economy be revitalized,"

Park said, stressing that unless they are approved in time, their effects can be halved as in the case of bills to energize the real estate market. (Yonhap News)

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