Xi confirms second memorial to Korea in China

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Xi confirms second memorial to Korea in China

Chinese President Xi Jinping confirmed the speedy construction and unveiling of a stone monument at the former barracks of the Korean Liberation Army in Xian, northwestern China, as a follow-up to the opening of the Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall in Harbin, a matter that is bound to raise additional backlash from Japan.

Ahead of her first official talks with the Japanese prime minister, President Park Geun-hye met with President Xi along the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, where the two demonstrated a united front on historical issues that have led to tensions with Japan.

“President Park hoped for the installation of a monument for the Korean Liberation Army in their post on the outskirts of Xian,” Xi said. “We are actively constructing [the monument] and will complete it soon and unveil it.”

Park initially asked officials during her state visit to the Chinese city last year to approve the establishment of a monument for the independence troops of the Korean government in exile which were stationed there from 1941 to 1945, as Japanese colonial rule was nearing its end.

Xi also conveyed to Park that it was “under his direct instruction” that the memorial hall to Ahn was built in Harbin, a move that was welcomed by Seoul.

He added, “This will contribute to the strengthening of relations between the people of our two countries.”

Park added that the construction of a memorial hall to Ahn, Korea’s famous independence fighter, would become an iconic symbol of friendship and cooperation between Korea and China. Park also added that the “smooth progress” made on the installation of the Korean Liberation Army’s monument was “meaningful.”

In January, Tokyo criticized the unveiling of the Ahn memorial hall, calling the independence fighter a “terrorist.”

Ahn assassinated Hirobumi Ito, the first Japanese resident general of Korea and the former Japanese prime minister, on Oct. 26, 1909, on a Harbin Railway Station platform.

Japanese media responded critically to the Korea-China summit in regard to the Ahn tribute.

BY KIM HYUN-KI, SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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