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S. Korean President Takes Tough Stand on Japan
Dokdo claims based on wrong interpretation of history, says Roh Moo-hyun
Kim Tae Kyung (internews)     Print Article 
Published 2006-04-25 19:33 (KST)   
Determined. South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun prepares for a special address on the "current Korea-Japan relationship" in the conference room in the Blue House, April 25.
©2006 Yonhap
South Korea's President Roh Moo-hyun vowed to sternly deal with the disputes over the East Sea islets of Dokdo in his special address on the Korea-Japan relationship on April 25.

During the live broadcast, Roh said, "the government of South Korea will completely review its countermeasures against Japan's claim to Dokdo. Ending its previously quiet diplomacy, he declared that South Korea would confront the recent disputes over the Dokdo islands (as well as issues over Japan's history textbooks and Prime Minister Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni shrine) in order to protect Korea's independence and sovereignty and to settle the historical issues of Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula.

Roh went on to say that his government would strongly react to Japan's physical aggression, emphasizing that South Korea would promote public opinion against Japan's wrongdoing in the international community and inside Japan, and persistently mobilize all its national and diplomatic resources to press Japan to rectify its errors.

He explained the reason for taking such a stern position was because Korea and Japan have not been able to determine exclusive economic zones (EEZ). This was the result of Japan's unreasonable claim to Dokdo, which states Dokdo is Japan's starting point of the EEZ.

Roh added that the disputes over Dokdo might not be resolved by quiet diplomacy because Japan has not abandoned its erroneous opposition to Korea registering its own names for undersea features in the East Sea, although determining an EEZ has become an urgent matter.

Roh stressed again, "Dokdo is a symbol in correcting the wrong history of Japan's aggression and enhancing Korea's sovereignty." Thus, South Korea will stand firm in dealing with the disputes, although there are some concerns about Japan's motives in making Dokdo a hotspot.

Roh explained the historical meaning of Dokdo in detail in the beginning of his address.

He said that Dokdo was the first region in the Korean peninsula conquered by Japan during its colonial aggression and was previously occupied by Japan during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905).

Roh said Japan's claim to the islets was the same as Japan's attempt to claim territorial rights during the "imperial war of aggression" and furthermore, the colonial rights to the land of its former colony, Korea.

He stressed that South Korea would never tolerate Japan's denial of Korea's independence and liberation and attempts to justify its past crimes during its colonial rule.

He pointed out that there would be no ground for the Korea-Japan friendship as long as Japan continuously glorifies its history of aggression and insists on its rights based on a wrong interpretation of history. He said he doubted Japan's will to realize a cooperative relationship between Korea and Japan in the future, as well as peace in East Asia.

Roh emphasized that he was not calling for a new apology from Japan, but asked Prime Minister Koizumi and other Japanese leaders to behave in accordance with their past apologies. He added that Japan must stop glorifying and justifying its past crimes because it infringes on Korea's sovereign rights and the pride of the Korean people.

Roh concluded his address by stressing that Japan should overcome its dark history of imperial aggression. He also called for Japan's resolutions for a peaceful and prosperous future in East Asia in the 21st century and for peace in the world.
©2006 OhmyNews

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