President Park Geun-hye said she wants to leave a “legacy of friendship” with neighboring nations, but differences in perception of history pose obstacles to that vision.
Park made the remark in an interview with CNN earlier this week, referring to Seoul’s relations with Tokyo that have been frayed badly due to Japan’s attempts to glorify its militaristic past and whitewash atrocities committed during its 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea.
“Because issues regarding the perception of history fundamentally has the potential to harm a relationship of trust, this historical understanding poses obstacles in terms of our ability to move forward to serve our common prosperity as well as our shared interest,” Park said.
“In order to further uphold peace and stability here in Northeast Asia and for Korea and neighboring nations to move collectively forward, it has been my desire to leave to my future generations a legacy of friendship and a legacy of being able to work together,” she said.
Relations between South Korea and Japan have been at one of their worst points in recent years due to Tokyo’s refusal to resolve the issue of its sexual enslavement of Korean women for its troops during World War II, as well as its repeated claims to the South’s easternmost islets of Dokdo.
Park has shunned a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ever since she took office in February last year, saying she sees no point in meeting with him unless Japan first demonstrates seriousness about improving relations with Seoul. (Yonhap)