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Main opposition slams Korea-Japan summit as 'most humiliating' moment in diplomacy

11:35 March 17, 2023

By Lee Minji

SEOUL, March 17 (Yonhap) -- Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung lashed out at President Yoon Suk Yeol on Friday, calling his summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida the "most humiliating moment" in the country's diplomatic history.

Lee, chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), made the remarks a day after Yoon and Kishida held summit talks and agreed to move past historical disputes, including a row over wartime forced labor, and restore long-strained relations.

Lee denounced the summit as the "most humiliating and dreadful moment in the history of our diplomacy," saying the Yoon administration has chosen to become a "puppet" of the Japanese government.

"Japan's apology or regret on the biggest issue of forced labor was nowhere to be seen," Lee said during a party meeting.

Yoon's trip came after South Korea announced a solution to the long-running disputes over compensation for Koreans forced into hard labor for Japanese companies when Korea was under Japan's colonial rule from 1910-1945.

Under the plan, South Korea plans to compensate victims on its own without Japan's involvement.

"Victims have officially rejected the government compensation plan and people are against it, but Yoon tiptoed around Japan, saying there will be no request for reimbursement," Lee said.

The ruling People Power Party (PPP) defended the summit results as reaping meaningful results.

Saying that they will give "new opportunities and energy" to the economy, PPP floor leader Joo Ho-young said that "a wall of distrust and lack of communication between the two countries that has built up over the years has started to crumble."

Joo criticized the DP for using anti-Japanese sentiment for political interests, saying that history will properly assess the decision Yoon made for future generations.

Main opposition Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung speaks during a meeting of the party's Supreme Council at the National Assembly on March 17, 2023. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida toast at Rengatei, a Western-style establishment known as the birthplace of Japanese pork cutlets and "omurice," in Tokyo on March 16, 2023. (Yonhap)

Ruling People Power Party floor leader Joo Ho-young (C) speaks during the party's policy response meeting at the National Assembly on March 17, 2023. (Yonhap)



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