S Korean president calls for closer ties with Japan
President Lee Myung-Bak yesterday called for South Korea and Japan to stop feuding over their history and build ties to bind the two neighbours closer together.
In a speech marking the 89th anniversary of a 1919 popular uprising against Japanese colonial rule over the Korean peninsula, Lee said South Korea must not be caught up in disputes over history.
"We face too many challenges for us to look back. We should not let ourselves be bound by the past," he said.
Lee, who was inaugurated on Monday, said pragmatism should be the dominant theme in all fields ranging from politics and economics to security and diplomacy.
"South Korea and Japan should also try to foster a future-oriented relationship with a pragmatic attitude," he said.
"Historical truth must not be denied, but we can no longer afford to give up our future relations due to disputes over the past."
March 1, 1919 marked the beginning of nationwide protests against Japanese colonial rule. The uprising was brutally quashed by Japanese police and military forces, leaving thousands of casualties.
Japan's colonial rule of Korea lasted from 1910 to 1945.