Fri, Aug 16, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Korean Peninsula will be united by 2045, Moon says

The Guardian

South Korean President Moon Jae-in yesterday vowed to achieve the unification of the Korean Peninsula by 2045, a century after the end of World War II.

In a speech to mark the 74th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945, Moon also said that South Korea would “gladly join” hands with its former colonial ruler to defuse an escalating trade dispute whose roots lie in the nations’ wartime history.

In Tokyo, Japanese Emperor Naruhito voiced “deep remorse” over the nation’s wartime actions, echoing the language used by his father, Akihito.

“Looking back on the long period of postwar peace, reflecting on our past and bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse, I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never be repeated,” he said.

Moon called on Pyongyang and Washington to arrange a fourth summit between the leaders “at the earliest possible date.”

“This will probably constitute the most critical juncture in the entire process of achieving denuclearization and establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said in a speech in Cheonan. “Now is the time for both Koreas and the United States to focus on resuming working-level negotiations ... at the earliest possible date.”

Denuclearization and greater economic cooperation with North Korea would lay the foundations for lasting peace on the peninsula, he said, vowing to realize unification by 2045 and to host a joint Seoul-Pyongyang Olympics in 2032.

“A new Korean Peninsula — one that will bring peace and prosperity to itself, East Asia and the world — awaits us,” he said.

Moon was speaking soon after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual cash offering to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honors 2.5 million Japanese killed in war, including 14 World War II-era leaders convicted as war criminals.

Abe has visited Yasukuni only once since becoming prime minister in 2012, but has sent ritual offerings during seasonal festivals and the anniversary of Japan’s wartime surrender on Aug. 15.

Relations between Seoul and Tokyo have deteriorated since South Korean court rulings calling on Japanese companies to compensate South Koreans conscripted as forced laborers during the war.

Moon called on Japan to “contemplate” its wartime past, but added: “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 neighboring countries.”

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