South Korea’s Democratic Party accuses Yoon of ‘kowtowing to Japan’

Last week, South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs hinted that it may compensate victims of forced labour through its own public foundation, while stressing this is not the final plan.

Kim Arin

Kim Arin

The Korea Herald


Democratic Party of Korea head Rep. Lee Jae-myung (front row, fourth from left) speaks at an emergency meeting held Monday at the National Assembly building on Monday. (Kim Arin/The Korea Herald)

January 17, 2023

SEOUL – The Democratic Party of Korea held a series of emergency meetings Monday, accusing the Yoon Suk Yeol administration of “being subservient” to Japan with its apparent plan for compensating victims of colonial forced labor.

“The Yoon administration is willing to give up everything if it means mending ties with Japan,” Democratic Party head Rep. Lee Jae-myung said at the meeting convened by the party’s committee on peace and foreign affairs.

“The administration must draw lessons from the Park Geun-hye administration’s 2015 agreement on settling Japanese wartime sexual slavery and how that turned out, and put a stop to its self-harming diplomacy,” he said.

Based on the plan that is unveiled so far, he accused the South Korean government of “kowtowing to Japan.”

“Our government essentially freed Japan from accountability to its war crimes,” he said, calling the Yoon administration’s Japan policy “diplomacy of servitude.”

Last week, South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs hinted that it may compensate victims of forced labor through its own public foundation rather than reparations from Japanese companies — while stressing this is not the final plan.

Democratic Party Floor Leader Rep. Park Hong-keun said in another emergency meeting that the South Korean government setting up a separate fund to compensate the war crime victims was “humiliating.”

“I don’t think we’ve witnessed anything like this in history,” he said.

At the same meeting Park said that the Yoon administration’s “incompetence in national security” was “threatening peace” in South Korea.

“Last month, North Korean drones infiltrated Seoul airspace, with one of them flying around the presidential office in Yongsan,” he said, adding that the administration’s “lack of capabilities in risk and conflict management is manifesting as real threats.”

The criticisms from the opposition party come as Lee, the Democratic Party chair, is due to appear before prosecutors for the second time this month in a criminal investigation into his corruption allegations.

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