Regarding the government's "third-party reimbursement" solution to compensate victims of forced labor in Japan, MDP Representative Yi Jae-myung said today (11 May), "Using the ROK-US-Japan joint drills as an excuse, the Self-Defense Forces' military footsteps may again stain the Korean peninsula."

Representative Yi attended the "Second Pan-National Congress to Condemn the Forced Solution to Forced Mobilization" hosted by the Korea-Japan Historical, Justice and Peace Action at Seoul Plaza today, and said, "Behind the humiliating reparations proposal, the ROK-Japan Munitions Support Agreement and the ROK-Japan military alliance await."

Once the agreement on reparations for forced labor between South Korea and Japan is implemented, there is concern that South Korea may become a scapegoat for Japan's strategy of becoming a military power.

Representative Yi said, "Can Japan, which denies its past history and denies war crimes, guarantee peace on the Korean peninsula and in the world?" and emphasized, "We must not draw Japan into the Korean peninsula in the name of military exercises and turn the Korean peninsula into an outpost of confrontation between the camps."

He also raised his voice, saying, "Where is the law that says that a second Katsura-Taft agreement should not occur in a situation where military-diplomatic autonomy is limited?" and "Moreover, this proposal for forced mobilization reparations cannot be tolerated."

He continued, "What happened to this country that Dr. Kim Koo, Martyr-General Yu Gwan-soon, and Dr. Ahn Jung-geun and Dr. Yoon Bong-gil bleed and sacrificed their lives," and criticized that "the humiliating forced mobilization reparations proposal has again created a humiliating image that will give Japan a head-to-head scowl."

Lee also pointed out that the government does not listen to criticism.

"The president said that the reparations proposal was the result of respecting the victims' position, but he listened clearly with these ears to the victims' grandmothers who said, 'I don't need that money,'" he said, adding, "How did this humiliating reparations respect the victims' position?"

"The people are stunned and the president seems to be deaf," he said, claiming that "(President Yoon Seok-yeol) has mangled the wounds of the victims and cruelly trampled on the pride of the people."

Regarding President Yun's visit to Japan next week, Representative Yi said, "Is there any concession that Japan has made other than the invitation letter from the President and his wife?" and said, "We have given away all the livers and gallbladders, but there is no compensation for war criminals and no measures to lift export restrictions."

He added, "This Korea, which is to be proud to the world, has become a 'ho-gang' (meaning 'cluttered and deceiving guest') in Japan."

Referring to remarks by Seok Dong-hyon, secretary-general of the Consultative Council for Democratic Peace and Reunification, who said, "Let's stop demanding an apology from Japan," Representative Yi said, "Such a pro-Japan true color is the inner feelings of Yun Seok-yeol's government officials," adding, "It is indeed something that Iwan Yong will cry about."

The event was also attended by Justice Party Representative Lee Jung-mi.

Representative Lee Jeong-mi said, "The Yoon Seok-yeol government sold history and humiliated victims of forced labor beyond measure," adding, "The Justice Party will fight to the end to stop the government's runaway."

Meanwhile, when Lee Jung-mi took the podium, some Democratic supporters booed him with profanity.

It appears to be a protest against the fact that members of the Justice Party voted in favor of the motion to arrest Lee Jae-myung.

The event was attended by a number of Democratic members of Congress, including members of the Democratic Party.

(Photo = Yonhap News)