중앙데일리

Roh, Abe agree on North Korea but not much else

Oct 09,2006

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, with President Roh Moo-hyun yesterday evening at a dinner at the Blue House. [YONHAP]

President Roh Moo-hyun said he found “no different views” from those of Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, in their condemnation of North Korea’s nuclear test.
Mr. Roh was speaking at a press conference after he met the visiting Japanese leader. Shortly after his appearance, Mr. Abe met the press separately.
“I found common ground with Mr. Abe in that North Korea’s nuclear test is not pardonable, calm and strategic countermoves are needed and the United Nations and the involved nations need to coordinate their moves,” Mr. Roh told reporters. He praised the cooperation Seoul, Washington and Tokyo have shown in addressing the North Korean nuclear issue.
Mr. Abe also stressed that he and Mr. Roh had a meeting of the minds, at least on North Korea, but was speaking alone at a Seoul hotel. No joint statement was issued after the two men met.
A senior Korean official suggested that the two men found no common ground on issues other than North Korea and cited differences between China and Korea in their willingness to seek better ties with Japan.
He said, “The two leaders met for the first time today and they have separate understandings of history. Today they presented their stances. We could not reach an agreement on a statement that we can jointly announce.” He continued, “We could not make an agreement on the level of the China-Japan joint statement because we do not have the same historical understanding as that between China and Japan.”
The first meeting of Japanese and Korean leaders in 11 months began at 3 p.m. at the Blue House. Originally, Korean officials said, Mr. Roh’s emphasis in the meeting was to have been on Japan’s recounting of its imperial past and actions that seemed to Koreans to justify its colonial rule and wartime atrocities. The North Korean weapons test yesterday morning changed all that.
But Mr. Roh told the press he had asked for “sincere Japanese efforts” to remove the history-related irritants, including visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, textbook treatment of Japan’s history in the first half of the 20th century and its use of Korean women as prostitutes for its military during World War II.
Mr. Roh quoted Mr. Abe as reaffirming apologies by senior Japanese officials in 1993 and 1995, but said the Japanese leader was ambiguous about whether he would continue his predecessor’s practice of visiting the controversial shrine.


by Chun Su-jin


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