Chinese Ambassador Criticizes Japan|
China¡¯s top envoy to South Korea said
yesterday that Japan cannot be trusted by its regional neighbors and cannot be a
``normal¡¯¡¯ state unless it acknowledges and apologizes for its wartime
``As an offender, Japan should openly recognize its past
actions and sincerely apologize,¡¯¡¯ Ambassador Li Bin said in an interview with
Yonhap News Agency. ``If it does not acknowledge its past, how can it be
Seoul and Tokyo have been involved in an
escalating diplomatic row in recent weeks over Tokto, South Korea¡¯s easternmost
islets, and Japanese textbooks currently under government screening, which
allegedly glorify the nation¡¯s imperial past in the early 20th century.
``Germany could be cited as a mirror (for self-reflection),¡¯¡¯ Li said,
calling for a more sincere attitude in dealing with the history issues with
neighboring countries, including China and South Korea.
With the United
States apparently moving toward bolstering the role of Japan in the Northeast
Asian region, Beijing has raised concerns about strengthening the alliance
between Tokyo and Washington.
The recent diplomatic row between South
Korea and Japan _ both an ally of the U.S. _ has raised concerns over the
trilateral teamwork among Seoul, Tokyo and Washington in resolving the regional
standoff over North Korea¡¯s nuclear weapons program.
interview with the South Korean news agency, Li also voiced strong support for
Seoul¡¯s policy of engaging its communist rival, Pyongyang, saying it will
eventually pay off.
``South Korea¡¯s patience over its economic
cooperation with North Korea will have some result in the end,¡¯¡¯ he said, adding
that continuing efforts to strengthen mutual trust between the two Koreas is the
best way to realize peace.
``Dialogue, exchange, and cooperation are
very important factors in building trust with each other,¡¯¡¯ said the Chinese
diplomat, who spent most of his career dealing with Korean affairs.
praised South Korea¡¯s supply of electricity to a pilot industrial park in
Kaesong, a North Korean border city where several textile and other
labor-intensive South Korean plants have recently opened up shop.
remarks came amid growing calls by hardliners in Washington for Seoul to slow
the pace of its cross-border projects and cut humanitarian aid, including food
The Chinese ambassador also hinted that the upcoming
week may mark a watershed in multilateral efforts to coax Pyongyang to the
six-party talks, which involves the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and
Rice arrived in Beijing later in the day for a two-day trip,
after knitting together a common message in Tokyo and Seoul to be presented to
the Chinese. China is believed to have most leverage to get the North Koreans
back to the negotiating table.
``Her visit to Beijing is very
important,¡¯¡¯ Li said. ``Rice will have in-depth discussions with Chinese
officials on ways of resuming the six-way dialogue and Sino-U.S. relations.¡¯¡¯
Rice¡¯s trip will be followed by a weeklong visit to Beijing by North
Korean Premier Park Bong-ju starting on Tuesday.
Li warned against
isolating Pyongyang in the process of resolving the nuclear standoff and called
for more flexibility on the part of the U.S. and other countries in the
``It is not desirable to hold a round of talks
without North Korea¡¯s participation,¡¯¡¯ he said. ``China¡¯s basic stance is to
maintain the framework of the six-party talks. All the participants need to
respect the hard-won process.¡¯¡¯
In the meantime, the Chinese diplomat
expressed concerns over the much reported move by the U.S. to expand the role of
its military stationed in South Korea beyond the peninsula.
soldiers are stationed here for historical reasons. Deviating from the mutual
interests (of Seoul and Washington) is not helpful for regional peace,¡¯¡¯ he
South Korea has made it clear that, though it understands the U.S.
strategy as an ally, it opposes any situation in which it gets entangled in
regional conflicts contrary to its willingness just because its allied power is
involved in them.
Recalling his past three and half years in Seoul, Li
said, ``Seoul and Beijing experienced the worst crisis in their diplomatic ties
last summer over Koguryo.¡¯¡¯
By Ryu Jin / Staff Reporter
(Korea Times 2005-3-20)