• Kyodo

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South Korea will work to block Japan’s bid to win permanent membership on the U.N. Security Council, the country’s envoy to the United Nations said Thursday, according to a Yonhap News Agency dispatch from New York.

Ambassador Kim Sam Hoon said Japan’s leadership would be “limited” because it lacks the confidence of neighboring countries, according to the Yonhap news report.

The comments by Kim clarify for the first time South Korea’s opposition to Japan becoming a permanent member of the council.

“There are difficulties for a country that does not have the trust of its neighboring countries — because of its lack of reflection on the past — to play the role of a world leader,” the South Korean diplomat was quoted as telling a news conference.

“We do not think Japan has the qualifications to become a U.N. Security Council member, and we will try to make sure it does not,” according to Kim.

Tensions between Japan and South Korea flared last month when the Shimane Prefectural Assembly passed an ordinance designating Feb. 22 as “Takeshima Day” to mark the centenary of when a now South Korea-controlled cluster of uninhabited islets were incorporated into Japanese territory. The group of islets is known in Japan as Takeshima and in South Korea as Tok-do.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said the government is not surprised by the envoy’s remarks. But he said Japan would still try to win Seoul’s support as part of efforts to obtain approval worldwide.

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