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DP leader vows to use 'all possible means' to hold Yoon accountable over summit with Japan

14:31 March 20, 2023

By Lee Minji

SEOUL, March 20 (Yonhap) -- Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung pledged Monday to get to the bottom of suspicions that President Yoon Suk Yeol made a series of unannounced concessions significantly hurting national interests when he held a summit with Japan last week.

Lee, of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), made the remark during a party meeting, citing news reports saying Thursday's summit between Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida dealt not only with the issue of wartime forced labor, but also other unannounced topics, such as sovereignty over South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo.

"The National Assembly must take strong measures to reveal the truth behind the Yoon Suk Yeol administration's humiliating diplomacy toward Japan," Lee said, pledging to use "all possible means" to hold the Yoon administration accountable.

Ahead of the summit, the Yoon administration announced a decision to compensate victims of Japan's wartime forced labor on its own without asking Japan for contributions as part of efforts to mend long-strained relations with Tokyo.

The DP has strongly denounced the decision as humiliating, and stepped up criticism of the administration following Japanese media reports that the summit also dealt with the issue of wartime sexual slavery, Seoul's import ban on fisheries products from Japan's Fukushima region and the issue of Dokdo.

"The possibility of them being true appears to be high," Lee said of the news reports. "If they are true, it would be shocking ... It not only means they hurt the pride of our people, but it could also mean they denied the independence of the Republic of Korea."

The Yoon administration could also come under criticism for failing to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to protect the national territory and the lives of people, Lee said, adding that the government with a five-year term has no right to make decisions doing permanent harm to national interests.

A presidential official said that the issues of Dokdo and wartime sexual slavery were not discussed. The official also said it was not appropriate to disclose what was discussed with regard to the import ban on fisheries products from Fukushima, but the government maintained its stance that such products cannot be imported unless their safety is scientifically proven.

The ruling People Power Party (PPP) also defended the summit results as restoring bilateral ties and slammed the DP for talking gibberish to divert attention from its leader who faces corruption probes.

PPP leader Kim Gi-hyeon said that the main opposition party is bent on slandering Yoon and is taking advantage of an anti-Japanese sentiment for political interests.

"It is the DP, which uses national interest and security as a means for shielding its leader, who is the ringleader in ruining the country," Kim said.

This March 18, 2022, photo shows opposition leader Lee Jae-myung (L) and floor leader Park Hong-keun (2nd from L) attending a rally denouncing the results of a South Korea-Japan summit in central Seoul. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)



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