SEOUL – South Korea urged Japan on Tuesday to maintain the spirit of its pacifist constitution despite reinterpreting the text, allowing the country to exercise the right to collective self-defense.
“The Japanese government, while upholding the basic spirit of its more than 60-year-old pacifist Constitution and within the framework of the U.S.-Japan alliance, should be transparent in its efforts and should not undermine regional peace and stability,” the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
The South Korean government has not openly expressed opposition to Japan’s changes, partly because they are supported by the United States. However, it is concerned about potentially negative public reaction.
The ministry said Japan must take action to “renounce historical revisionism and . . . dispel doubts and concerns stemming from historical issues, and to win the trust from its neighboring countries.”
Seoul said it would not tolerate Tokyo using troops in any way that affects the security of the Korean Peninsula — unless South Korea has requested or consented to it.
A spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Japan should give heed to the concerns of its neighbors and deal with the collective self-defense issue carefully. It must not damage Chinese sovereignty or security, or regional peace and stability, he said.