S. Korean Lawmakers Accuse Japan's Prime Minister of Stirring Drama to Get Re-elected
SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's ruling and opposition parties spoke in rare unison Sunday to denounce Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his remarks urging the Seoul government to remove statues symbolizing thousands and thousands of Korean women forced into sexual slavery by Japan.
The ruling Saenuri Party accused Abe of trying to use the thorny issue for his own political gain as he seeks reelection to the top government post.
Opposition parties renewed their demand to nullify a 2015 agreement between Seoul and Tokyo that sought to settle the issue once and for all.
Such reactions came after the Japanese prime minister, on a Japanese TV program, demanded that Seoul remove the comfort women statue in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul, along with a new statue erected last week near the Japanese consulate in South Korea's second-largest city of Busan.
Abe was also said to have claimed that his government has lived up to its end of the 2015 deal by providing 1 billion Japanese yen (US$8.6 million) that was meant to care for South Korean women who had been forced into sexual slavery by Japan before or during World War II.
"Prime Minister Abe urged South Korea to show its sincerity, saying Japan has paid the 1 billion yen as promised. Such remarks do not seem appropriate as they seem to show his attempt to take advantage of the diplomatic issue between the two countries for his rule and election," Rep. Kim Sung-won said in a released statement.
"Abe must stop his attempt to create tension between the two countries, and understand that strategic cooperation between the countries is more important than ever," the ruling party spokesman added.'