In U.S., Kim Moo-sung stresses necessity of Japanese apology

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In U.S., Kim Moo-sung stresses necessity of Japanese apology

Ruling Saenuri Party Chairman Kim Moo-sung stressed to U.S. officials during his visit to Washington that Japan needs to issue a proper apology to Korea for its wartime aggressions and that the Japanese prime minister’s upcoming address in August should not regress from previous prime ministers’ statements.

“We told U.S. officials clearly that we suffered some 35 years of humiliation, where even our names were taken away,” Kim told reporters in Annandale, Virginia, on Monday, referring to Japan’s occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945.

“We want to cooperate for the sake of world peace and our future. However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has, on numerous occasions, made remarks that have provoked our national sentiments.”

Kim added that he had conveyed to the officials he met in Washington, including Senator John McCain, that Abe should not make an address on Aug. 15, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, that “regresses from the 50th anniversary address by [Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama] and 60th anniversary address by [Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi].”

In his landmark statement in 1995, Murayama expressed “deep remorse and a heartfelt apology” for Japan’s colonial rule and wartime aggressions, language that was echoed in Koizumi’s statement in 2005.

Kim continued that he hoped the United States would request that Abe halt such provocations.

“In order to talk about the future, we would have to hear a sincere apology from Prime Minister Abe, and with that, all problems will be resolved,” he said.

The Saenuri leader kicked off a nine-day visit to the United States on Saturday, accompanied by a group of 10 lawmakers. He will also make stops in Los Angeles and New York.

Earlier on Monday, Kim and his delegation held closed-door talks with Republican Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Saenuri Rep. Kim Jong-hoon told reporters afterward that Kim had told McCain that “the trilateral relationship between Korea, the United States and Japan is important for security, but inasmuch as the issue of historical perception with Japan is becoming a considerable barrier in progress in cooperation, it is important for Japan to sincerely apologize, particularly because this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of [World War II].”

McCain reportedly told his visitors that he emphasizes the same message whenever he meets with Japanese officials, and that he plans to continue to encourage Tokyo to apologize.

The two were also confirmed to have addressed Japan’s moves to enable its right to exercise collective self-defense via an unconventional interpretation of its pacifist constitution.

On Monday, Kim also gave a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington-based think tank, where he stressed that the United States needs to come up with a more creative solution to tackle North Korea’s nuclear weapons program to end the standoff.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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