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S. Korean ruling party exec calls Japan ‘terrorist state’ after hero criticized

Kyodo

A senior leader of South Korea’s ruling party called Japan a “terrorist state” for inflicting mass suffering on its neighbors in the past, after Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga applied the “terrorist” label to a Korean independence hero.

“If Ahn Jung-guen was a terrorist, then Japan was a terrorist state for having mercilessly invaded and plundered countries around it,” Hong Moon-jong, secretary-general of the Saenuri Party, said Tuesday.

Hong also said Japan has become “a subject of international condemnation for having twisted the historical facts, and with the visits by government officials to the Yasukuni Shrine.”

The controversial shrine in Tokyo honors Class-A World War II criminals along with the country’s war dead.

Hong further criticized Japan for “trying to glorify the misdeeds done in the past and hampering efforts for peace and cooperation with neighboring countries.”

“Japan, based on a thorough self-reflection, should offer a heart-felt apology not only for its remarks on the righteous fighter Ahn Jung-geun, but for its past wrongdoings,” Hong said.

On Monday, Suga told a news conference that Ahn was “a terrorist who received a death sentence” for the 1909 assassination of Hirobumi Ito, resident general of Japanese-ruled Korea, at a railway station in Harbin, China.

Suga’s remarks about Ahn came as he was criticizing the opening of a memorial hall in Ahn’s honor that opened Sunday in Harbin Railway Station. The hall was built at the suggestion of South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

The South Korean government reacted to Suga by calling his remarks “ignorant and anti-historic.”

A statement issued by the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Ahn, who was executed in a Japanese prison in China on March 26, 1910, at the age of 30, “is a hero who had sacrificed himself for the recovery of Korea’s independence and for true peace in Asia.”

It said Ito was the main culprit in exerting inexpressible suffering and evil by masterminding the plundering of the Korean Peninsula.

  • Robert cook

    The shrine visit was a hot issue and yet this is some how not? If Britain put up a Bin Lauden statue the US would strongly object so why did China and South Korea choose to do that? Japan and South Korea have reasons to hate that the second named county keeps bringing up. I think both countries need to find the good in each other and drop the whining and continuous jabs which have long since lost relevance due to their over use.

    • jake Harods

      Robert, you are not suited for this. OBL is not a country:) Japan, a country, invaded her neighbours. Do you see the difference? :)

    • Christopher-trier

      In Korea Ahn is seen as a hero. In Japan Ito is seen as a hero. In Korea Ito is seen as a villain, in Japan Ahn is seen as a villain. Both are correct assessments from their respective national viewpoints. Ahn killed a man who was working to bring Korea, already laden with bitterness to Japan following the Imjin Wars and Japanese policies post-1868 toward the country, into Japan’s imperial fold. Ito was working to secure Japanese interests in Korea and gain control of the country that Japan’s enemies could easily use as a base for an invasion. Based on Korean weakness at the time and the colonisation of much of Asia both direct and indirect by Western powers at the time the fear on Japan’s part was not unreal. As someone who was involved intimately with Japan’s modernisation and emergence as a great world power Ito’s loss was a grave blow to Japan. The Korean response, thus considered, is intemperate at best considering the circumstances.

  • phu

    If you’re going to accuse another nation of “trying to glorify the misdeeds done in the past and hampering efforts for peace and cooperation with neighboring countries,” perhaps you should try not to do EXACTLY the same thing.

    The only thing that’s more worrying than usual here is South Korea and China ganging up on Japan. It’s bad enough when they’re all mutually picking on each other. I think our only saving grace will likely be China’s ever-expanding territory grab and the offense it’s sure to cause eventually, even in South Korea.

    Stepping back a bit further, this is even more pathetic than the usual squabbles over a war that ended nearly 70 years ago. We’re now on to things that happened over a CENTURY ago. If this is a sign of things to come, we’re all in for a very, very, very long ride as these basket cases condemn each other all the way back to the first mainlander that decided to set up shop on those little islands off the coast.

  • JTCommentor

    Reading these news articles I have visions of 3 teenage sisters pulling each others hair and calling each other name. You are a terrorist. No YOU are a terrorist. How embarassing.

  • Paul

    (1) Ito was the main culprit in exerting inexpressible suffering and evil by masterminding the plundering of the Korean Peninsula. <== TRUE

    (2) shrine in Tokyo honors Class-A World War II criminals <== TRUE

    (3) Ahn, who was executed in a Japanese prison in China on March 26, 1910,
    at the age of 30, “is a hero who had sacrificed himself for the recovery
    of Korea’s independence and for true peace in Asia.” <== TRUE

    so what is the issue here?

  • phu

    While I agree with this, the Japanese are not doing themselves any favors. The rest of southeast Asia shouldn’t be obsessing over Japan’s past any more than most of Europe should be constantly berating Germany for its role in WW2.

    However, you don’t see Germany overtly paying homage to Nazi war criminals. You don’t see them questioning whether their predecessors actually did anything wrong.

    You also don’t see the rest of Europe holding it over their heads.

    I’d say this is a good and relevant example that should inform the behavior of Japan as well as its neighbors: You shouldn’t be responsible for the failures of your parents, but if you want that understanding, you need to apply that same standard to other nations. Someone has to start behaving reasonably otherwise no one else has any incentive to do so.