• Kyodo

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South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun called Wednesday on South Korean and Japanese people to make joint efforts to open up a new future in Northeast Asia, saying the two countries have “a common destiny.”

In a congratulatory message published on the 2,500th edition of Mindan, an organ of the pro-Seoul Korean Residents Union in Japan, Roh said, “(South) Korea and Japan are a community with common destiny bound to open up together the future of Northeast Asia.”

“The future (of South Korea and Japan) is undoubtedly peace and coexistence,” Roh said in the message.

South Korea-Japan relations were strained after a Japanese local assembly approved an ordinance last month designating a “Takeshima Day.”

Takeshima is Japan’s name for the South Korean-held islets in the Sea of Japan called Tok-do in South Korea.

Japan’s education ministry also recently approved a contentious school history textbook that critics say attempts to glorify Japan’s wartime past, sparking further outrage in South Korea.

In the same message, the South Korean leader said he will do his utmost to build up a “new future” of relationship between South Korea and Japan.

Roh also said difficulties in relations with Japan have arisen this year, the 60th anniversary of the Korea Peninsula’s liberation from Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule, and the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties with Japan.

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