South Korea’s Moon cancels Japan journey amid spat over insult

President’s plan to go to Tokyo Olympics scrapped after experiences Japanese diplomat used lewd language to ridicule him.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is not going to go to Tokyo for the upcoming Olympics, scrapping plans for what would have been his first summit with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

The announcement got here on Monday after Seoul lodged a protest over a information report on Friday {that a} senior diplomat at Japan’s embassy in Seoul had stated Moon was “masturbating” when describing his efforts to enhance relations between the 2 international locations.

“President Moon has decided not to visit Japan,” Moon’s press secretary Park Soo-hyun instructed a briefing.

“As the Tokyo Olympics is a peaceful festival for all people around the world, we hope that Japan will host it safely and successfully.”

The newest uproar additional infected relations between the 2 nations feuding over territorial claims and their wartime historical past, dashing any remaining hopes that the Tokyo Games may provide a recent begin for bilateral and regional cooperation.

Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper earlier on Monday reported Moon would meet Suga in Tokyo on Friday, in time for the beginning of the Olympics. But each governments shortly denied a gathering had been finalised, with Moon’s workplace citing a “last-minute obstacle”.

Japan was additionally planning to exchange the Seoul-based diplomat after his reported feedback about Moon, the newspaper stated. Japan’s prime authorities spokesperson stated the ambassador cautioned his deputy over reported remarks.

“The remarks were inappropriate as a diplomat, and we think it is very regrettable,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato instructed an everyday briefing. Asked in regards to the report in regards to the diplomat’s removing, Kato stated it was a matter for the international minister and didn’t present additional particulars.

A summit between the 2 leaders had not been determined but when Moon determined to go to, Japan would accommodate him, Kato added. South Korea’s vice international minister, Choi Jong-kun, summoned Japan’s Ambassador Koichi Aiboshi on Saturday to protest.

Longstanding disputes

Relations between Seoul and Tokyo have been strained since South Korea’s Supreme Court in 2018 ordered some Japanese corporations to compensate Korean compelled labourers for his or her ordeals throughout Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

The rulings led to additional tensions over commerce when Japan imposed export controls on chemical compounds important to South Korea’s semiconductor business in 2019.

Seoul accused Tokyo of weaponising commerce and threatened to terminate a army intelligence-sharing settlement with Tokyo that was a serious image of their trilateral safety cooperation with Washington.

South Korea finally backed off and continued the deal after being pressured by the Trump administration, which till then appeared content material to let its allies escalate their feud in public.

The international locations have been attempting to enhance relations for the reason that inauguration of United States’ President Joe Biden, who has referred to as for stronger three-way cooperation within the face of North Korean nuclear threats and challenges posed by China. But progress has been gradual and friction between the international locations has continued because the Olympics approach.

On Saturday, South Korea’s Olympic Committee eliminated banners on the Olympic athletes’ village in Tokyo that referred to a 16th-century Korean naval admiral who fought off an invading Japanese fleet after the International Olympic Committee dominated they have been provocative.

In agreeing to take down the banners, the South Koreans stated they obtained a promise from the IOC that shows of the Japanese “rising sun” flag can be banned at stadiums and different Olympic venues.

The flag, portraying a pink solar with 16 rays extending outward, is resented by many individuals in South Korea and different components of Asia who see it as an emblem of Japan’s wartime previous.

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