Ruling party slams NYT editorial accusing Park of whitewashing history

By 정주원
  • Published : Jan 16, 2014 - 15:49
  • Updated : Jan 16, 2014 - 15:49
The ruling Saenuri Party on Thursday slammed a New York Times editorial accusing South Korean President Park Geun-hye of trying to whitewash history.

On Monday, the NYT ran an editorial addressing the recent controversies surrounding high school history textbooks in South Korea and Japan.

"Both Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and President Park Geun-hye of South Korea are pushing to have high school history textbooks in their countries rewritten to reflect their political views," the NYT said in the piece titled "Politicians and Textbooks."

Of Park, it said she "wants to downplay Korean collaboration with the Japanese colonial authorities" and cited the fact that her father -- the former "military dictator" Park Chung-hee -- was an Imperial Japanese Army officer during Tokyo's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

The ruling party expressed outrage at the allegations.

"The New York Times has published an editorial equating Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who persistently distorts history, with President Park Geun-hye," Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun, the ruling party's deputy floor leader, said at a Supreme Council meeting.

"The New York Times may have frozen up in the bitter cold, but it was very wrong to publish an absurd editorial that is factually incorrect," he said, referring to the recent cold snap in the city.

Yoon urged the government to lodge a protest with the paper and demand it publish a formal apology.

"President Park Geun-hye is looking squarely at the historical facts, while Prime Minister Abe is distorting them," he said. "The New York Times is making an error in historical understanding, and has committed the error of failing to properly perceive the public sentiment of international condemnation and criticism for Prime Minister Abe's dangerous behavior."

The controversy in South Korea centers on allegations that one of the state-approved high school history textbooks for the coming academic year glorifies pro-Japanese collaborators and dictatorial regimes. Many of the high schools that chose the controversial textbook reversed their decision in recent weeks due to what the government claims was "unjust outside pressure" from left-leaning civic and teachers' groups. (Yonhap News)