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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

Leading South Korean newspaper calls for removing comfort woman statue

  • September 15, 2016
  • , Sankei , p. 3
  • JMH Translation

The Dong-A Ilbo, a leading South Korean newspaper, ran a column by its chief editor dated Sept. 14 saying, “In order to cooperate with Japan in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear weapons, the comfort woman statue installed in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul should be relocated.” It is unprecedented for the South Korean media to call for moving the comfort woman statue.


The column pointed out that the bilateral agreement reached last December cited “the South Korean government’s efforts toward an appropriate settlement” of the issue of the comfort woman statue, and said that the installation of the statue runs counter to the Vienna Convention. The author went on to say, “In accordance with the spirit of the bilateral agreement and the standards of the international community, Seoul needs to remove the statue from its current location in front of the Japanese Embassy and strengthen trilateral military cooperation among South Korea, the U.S., and Japan.”


As for the bilateral agreement between Japan and South Korea, the column concluded, “The South Korean government reached the agreement with Japan, because Seoul decided that it should no longer continue to argue with Tokyo at the expense of such important issues as economy and security.” The paper continued by saying, “Among the South Korean people who have kept silent, there are many who feel that the bilateral relationship should no longer be strained over the statue at a time when the nation is facing a crisis.”


The column also called for the early conclusion of a General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between the two countries, referring to South Korea’s advantage in gathering human intelligence concerning North Korea and Japan’s advantage in reconnaissance capability in the sea and air.


“Amid China rushing to assert itself as a military superpower in Asia based on Chinese hegemonism, fearing that Japan, which does not possess nuclear weapons, will remilitarize itself is a biased view that is mired in the past,” said the column, warning against a “theory of Japan as potential military threat.”


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