South Korean President Skips Olympics Without Summit

Seoul, South Korea — South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in will not come to Japan for the Tokyo Summer Olympics because he has not set up a summit meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister, which will have meaningful consequences for improving relations. It was determined.

The Moon office supports a summit meeting between Seoul and Tokyo officials on Monday after discussing a long-standing controversy over wartime history and the development of a “future-oriented” relationship between them. He said he couldn’t find enough common grounds for him.

The two countries discussed the possibility of the Moon visiting Tokyo to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, and bilateral relations with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, which recently sank to postwar lows in conflicts over history, trade and military cooperation. We were discussing the restoration of. ..

It was unclear how close they were to the establishment of the summit. Seoul said their talks were undermined by “barely impaired”.

The Moon office announced that the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Japanese ambassador Koichi Aiboshi on Saturday and used lewd words with reporters to ridicule Moon’s hopes for the use of the Olympics, according to local broadcasters. After protesting the remarks of a senior diplomat. Improve relationships.

According to JTBC, Hirohisa Soma, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Japanese Embassy, ​​said the moon would be “masturbating” given that it would hold a summit during the Olympics.

When asked if the incident influenced Moon’s decision not to go to the Olympics, South Korean presidential officials said the Blue House’s “internal atmosphere” had “shifted to skepticism” after JTBC’s report. recognized. Officials who spoke anonymously at the background briefing did not provide details of discussions with Japan regarding the setting of a lunar visit.

Prime Minister Suga told reporters that he hopes to “keep in good communication” with the South Korean government in order to restore sound relations with neighboring countries. He said Soma’s comment was “very inappropriate and disappointing.”

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said no decision had been made as to whether Soma would be dismissed from his current position.

The Korean government delegation at the Olympics will be led by Hwang-hee, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

“The Tokyo Olympics are a celebration of peace for people all over the world, and we hope Japan will hold the Olympics safely and successfully,” Moon spokesman Park Soo-hyun said in a statement on television. It was. “I also hope that despite difficult situations, athletes will be able to fully utilize the skills they have cultivated in competition and return to good health.”

Relations between Seoul and Tokyo are tense as the 2018 South Korean Supreme Court ordered Korean forced laborers to compensate for trials during colonial rule on the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945. When Japan imposed export restrictions on chemicals essential to South Korea’s semiconductor industry in 2019, the ruling led to further trade tensions.

On Saturday, the Korean Olympic Committee removed a banner referring to the 16th-century Admiral of the Korean Navy who fought the invading Japanese fleet in the Olympic Village in Tokyo after the International Olympic Committee decided it was provocative. did.

The Koreans said they had agreed to drop the flag and received a promise from the IOC to ban the display of Japan’s “Rising Sun Flag” at stadiums and other Olympic venues. The flag, which depicts the red sun with 16 rays extending outwards, resents many in South Korea and other parts of Asia, which it considers to be a symbol of Japan’s wartime past.

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