President Park says Seoul-Tokyo ties should be based on correct historical understandingUpdated: 2014-07-25 22:06:51 (KST)
In a rare meeting with a Japanese politician on Friday, President Park emphasized that without a correct understanding of history, Korea and Japan will not be able to build a trust-based relationship.
During talks with Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe, the president referred to a nation's territory as its body and its history as its soul.
She said that harming a country's soul shakes the foundation of that nation.
She also said that cooperation between the two neighboring countries was essential for peace and stability in Northeast Asia, and that politics shouldn't get in the way of bilateral relations.
The Korean leader's remarks came after Masuzoe delivered a message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who said he intends to work towards mending ties with Seoul.
Bilateral ties have soured over Japan's repeated whitewashing of its colonial-era atrocities and claims to Korea-controlled Dokdo island.
President Park then cast light on the unsettled issue surrounding Korean women forced into sex slavery by the Japanese military during World War Two.
"The military comfort women issue doesn't just concern the two countries. It's a universal women's rights issue. I anticipate it will be resolved through sincere efforts."
The Korean president also asked the Tokyo governor to ensure the safety of Koreans and their businesses in Japan in the wake of anti-Korea protests carried out by some interest groups.
Friday's talks between President Park and Masuzoe are considered to have reflected both Seoul and Tokyo's willingness to engage, but so long as the Abe administration continues to deny Japan's past wrongdoings, an improvement in ties seems far off.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.
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