Opposition party denounces Yoon-Kishida summit as ‘shameful submission to Japan’

-- The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) lashed out at President Yoon Suk Yeol on Thursday for coming away empty-handed from his summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, calling the talks "the culmination of submissive diplomacy" and "a shame on the people."

"Though leaders of South Korea and Japan met, the Japanese government did not issue an apology for the wartime forced labor issue. Despite Japan's such shameless stance, Yoon rather tried to defend Japan's side," DP spokesperson An Ho-young said.

During the summit meeting held in Tokyo earlier in the day, the two leaders agreed to resolve a long-running dispute over compensation for Koreans forced into labor for Japanese companies under Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Under Seoul's plan announced last week, a public foundation affiliated with the interior ministry will compensate the victims with donations from domestic businesses, though South Korea's Supreme Court in 2018 ordered two Japanese companies -- Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries -- to compensate the victims.

Yoon said Thursday that South Korea has no plans to seek reimbursement from Japan after compensating the victims.

"Yoon even vowed to completely normalize the bilateral military intelligence-sharing pact of the General Security of Military Information Agreement. Those decisions constitute paying a tribute beyond simply giving gifts," the spokesperson said. "It is another diplomatic disaster, as we've got nothing and given everything. It made our people ashamed."

He also pointed out not a single Japanese firm has taken part in creating their envisioned "future partnership fund" and Tokyo did not apologize for trade retaliation that it imposed in response to the forced labor ruling.

Ahead of the summit, business lobbies of South Korea and Japan announced a plan to each create a fund to support various cooperation projects as part of the resolution to the forced labor row.

Earlier in the day, the two nations announced that Japan will lift yearslong export curbs of key industry materials on South Korea, while Seoul decided to withdraw a complaint with the World Trade Organization against Japan on the export restrictions.

Victims of the forced labor have demanded an apology and direct compensation from the Japanese companies concerned, while Japan has long claimed all reparation issues stemming from its colonial occupation were settled under the 1965 treaty under which Seoul normalized relations with Tokyo in exchange for US$300 million in grants and $200 million in low-interest loans.

Source: Yonhap News Agency