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Assembly speaker says Yoon made 'big decision' over Korea-Japan summit

15:47 March 22, 2023

SEOUL, March 22 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk Yeol made a "big decision" with regard to relations with Japan, National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo said Wednesday, urging Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to take reciprocal measures.

Kim made the remark during a radio interview, referring to Yoon's decision to compensate victims of Japan's wartime forced labor using South Korea's own money without asking Japan for contributions in an effort to restore badly frayed relations with Tokyo.

"From President Yoon Suk Yeol's stance, he made a big decision, a concession, but if it is going to be accepted by the people, more communication is needed with victims and bereaved families," Kim said in a CBS radio interview.

Kim's remark drew attention as it could be seen as a positive assessment of Yoon's decision at a time when the main opposition Democratic Party, to which Kim had belonged to, has been churning out daily criticism of last week's summit between Yoon and Kishida.

Kim also urged Japan to offer a concession in return.

"As we preemptively made a concession, Japan should also make a concession," he said. "A clear expression of apology over historical issues should come in the form of an opinion from none other than Prime Minister Kishida."

During last week's summit, Kishida reaffirmed that the Japanese government inherits the historical perceptions of past governments, including the 1998 joint declaration adopted by former President Kim Dae-jung and former Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, but stopped short of offering a direct apology.

This file photo, provided by the National Assembly on Feb. 16, 2023, shows National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)



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