SKorea urges talks with Japan in measured WW-II anniversary message
SEOUL/TOKYO, Aug 15: On the anniversary of Japan's World War Two surrender, South Korea's president on Thursday urged Japan to contemplate its wartime past and offered to engage in talks to repair strained ties, while Japan pledged to never repeat the horrors of war.
Relations between Japan and South Korea are arguably at their lowest ebb since they normalized ties in 1965, strained over the issue of South Korean forced labour during World War Two and a bitter trade row.
In a speech marking Korea's independence from Japanese rule, Moon toned down his recent harsh rhetoric towards Japan.
"We hope that Japan will play a leading role together in facilitating peace and prosperity in East Asia while it contemplates a past that brought misfortune to its neighbouring countries," Moon said in a nationally televised address.
"Better late than never: if Japan chooses the path of dialogue and cooperation, we will gladly join hands."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday sent a ritual monetary offering to the controversial Yasukuni shrine for war dead in Tokyo. He did not visit in person, an act which would have sparked a heated reaction from Seoul.
Seoul's foreign ministry expressed "deep concerns" over Abe sending the offering to a shrine that "beautifies Japan's colonial pillage and aggressive war". -REUTERS