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ROK desperate to enlist public support for comfort women pact

All Friday papers took up a message issued on Thursday by the Blue House asking the Korean people to support the comfort women accord with Japan by saying: “We made efforts to obtain the Japanese government’s acknowledgement of responsibility, official expression of remorse, and apologies…. If the results of the best efforts made by the government are deemed invalid, there will be no government willing to take on troublesome issues.” The South Korean presidential office also criticized the local media’s reporting on the subject.


In a message posted on its official Facebook account, the ROK Foreign Ministry emphasized that the “final and irreversible settlement” will prohibit Japan from taking any action that runs counter to the accord. The Ministry added that South Korea has not agreed to remove the comfort women statue erected in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. Sankei said the Park administration is alarmed by the prevailing negative view of the agreement among the Korean people, as evidenced by a poll showing that disapproval of the pact exceeded approval at 50.7% and 43.2%, respectively. Although almost four out of five ruling Saenuri Party supporters embraced the accord, only 8.5%.of those who support the opposition approved of it.


In a related development, the leader of the ROK’s largest opposition party, the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, met with some former comfort women on Thursday and promised that the party will seek renegotiations with Japan in order to obtain “formal apologies and compensation.” Sunday’s Yomiuri reported on a telephone conversation between President Park and UN Secretary General Ban on Friday, during which the UN chief praised President Park for “making a correct and courageous decision” to resolve the comfort women dispute.

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