South Korea called on Japan Tuesday to stop making "regressive" remarks on its past wrongdoings and refrain from causing regional instability by pushing for its collective self-defense amid lingering suspicions.
Japan's move to expand its military role has won support from the United States, but caused alarm in South Korea and some other Asian nations where it is viewed as re-militarization.
"A country has the right to decide on its self-defense," defense ministry Kim Min-seok said in a briefing. "Due to Japan's past wrongdoings in the Northeast Asia region, however, neighboring countries still have suspicions over its intention."
Kim urged Tokyo to stop making "regressive" remarks and clear lingering concerns before pushing to revise the interpretation of its constitution.
South Korea and Japan have yet to resolve various historical and territorial disputes stemming from Tokyo's 1910-45 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.
His remark was in line with Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin's remark during Monday's parliamentary session that the Japanese government has the right to decide the self defense matter as long as it abides by Japan's Constitution to contribute to regional peace.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has long advocated revising the interpretation of the 1947 U.S.-drafted constitution held by successive Japanese governments that says that Japan has the right to collective self-defense but should not exercise that right.
Abe's visit to the controversial Yasukuni war shine in December has further fueled anger among Koreans and suspicion that the conservative leader's intention behind his initiative is to expand the role of Japan's Self-Defense Forces outside the country.
Last month, a South Korean parliamentary committee adopted a resolution against Japan's push for collective self-defense, expressing concern over Tokyo's efforts to expand the role of its military beyond its borders. (Yonhap)