Korean, Japanese Maritime Police in 2-Hour Standoff

  • By Lee Ha-won, Kim Jin-myung

    November 23, 2018 12:38

    Korean and Japanese maritime police faced off for two hours in the East Sea on Tuesday as bilateral relations soured over historical grievances.

    According to Japan's Foreign Ministry on Thursday, a Korean maritime police patrol ship tried to stop Japanese trawlers fishing outside Japan's exclusive economic zone on Tuesday morning. 

    A Japanese patrol boat approached and said fishing is allowed in the area under a bilateral pact, and the two sides sat facing each other for about two hours and 20 minutes at a distance of 740 m until the Korean patrol ship steamed away.

    Meanwhile, Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party adopted a resolution Thursday urging the Japanese government to demand that Korea halt the dismantlement of a foundation set up under an agreement with Japan to compensate victims of wartime sexual slavery.

    Some party members proposed recalling Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine as a sign of protest. Japan's five major daily newspapers also published editorials strongly critical of the Korean government's decision.

    Asked what to do with the 1 billion yen received from the Japanese government under the agreement, which was struck in murky circumstances by the Park Geun-hye administration, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa said, "We are considering various options."

    Nonetheless the foundation has already used some 400 million yen to compensate 34 surviving victims and families of dead victims, but 11 other survivors rejected the offer.

    Since Moon Jae-in became Korea's president last year, the foundation has effectively been on ice, and most of its board resigned at the end of last year. The government plans to use its own money to compensate the victims instead, while tricky negotiations continue with Japan.

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