Foreign Minister Kang honors Kim Bok-dong

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Foreign Minister Kang honors Kim Bok-dong


Left; President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday pays tribute at the mourning altar for the late Kim Bok-dong, a figure representative of victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery. Right; Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha pays her respects to Kim at the mourning altar set up at the funeral hall at Severance Hospital in western Seoul. [YONHAP]

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha paid her respects to a deceased victim of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery on Wednesday as the nation remembers her decades-long struggle to shed light on the issue.

Kim Bok-dong died of cancer at the age of 93 on Monday. Her death brought the number of registered surviving victims in the country to 23. “May you remain in our hearts and history,” a solemn-looking Kang wrote on a commemorative note during her visit to Kim’s memorial altar set up at Yonsei Severance Hospital in western Seoul.

On Tuesday, also President Moon Jae-in visited the altar. He wrote on his social media accounts that he will “never forget setting history right.”

Kim is considered a symbolic figure in Korea and worldwide for her work in uncovering the truth about sexual enslavement and her active role in promoting women’s rights issues, especially for those who have experienced wartime sexual violence in recent decades. She strongly condemned Japan for not making a sincere apology, demanding that it compensate the victims for their suffering. Historians say as many as 200,000 Asian women, mostly Korean, were forcibly sent to front-line brothels from 1939-1945 to provide sex services for Japanese soldiers. Korea was a colony of imperial Japan from 1910-45.

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