S. Korea raises issue of wartime sexual slavery at U.N. assembly
NEW YORK — South Korea's foreign minister has appealed for sexual violence against women in wartime to be eradicated and for victims to receive compensation in a speech at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Kim Sung Hwang's remarks during the assembly's general debate Friday are believed to allude to the "comfort women" forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during the war, although he did not refer to any country by name or use that term.
It is thought to be the first time South Korea has raised the comfort women issue in such a setting, according to a diplomatic source.
Kim also touched on territorial integrity, in another apparent reference to Japan given the bilateral dispute over the Takeshima Islands, which Seoul controls and calls Dokdo and which Tokyo has claimed since the 1950s.
The rule of law should not be abused to violate the sovereign territory of other countries, Kim said, possibly in response to an earlier call by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to bolster the rule of law at the assembly's annual gathering. Kim, however, did not single out any individual.
Kim had indicated that he would touch on the two high-profile issues after listening to Noda's speech, as well as remarks he made at a news conference asserting Tokyo's claim to the Takeshima isles in the Sea of Japan.
The foreign minister called for sexual violence against women in armed conflicts to be brought to an end, pointing out it is "a fundamental infringement of human rights" and urged efforts to be made to provide "effective remedies and reparations for victims."
South Koreans have long sought an apology and compensation from Japan over comfort women forced to work in Imperial army brothels, but Tokyo argues the case already has been legally settled.
Kim said "a sound historical consciousness and heartfelt soul-searching on any past wrongdoings" are prerequisites for "solid peace and stability to be established between nations."
"A country's true valor is proven when it confronts the dark side of its history and endeavors to rectify past wrongdoings," he noted.
On the rule of law and national borders, Kim said it is Seoul's "firm conviction" that "respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty as enshrined in the U.N. charter should be the guiding principle for international relations."
"No country should abuse international legal procedures and the notion of the rule of law in order to infringe upon the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries," he stressed.
On Wednesday, Noda also called on the international community to adhere to the rule of law, saying Japan has accepted the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in resolving cross-border disputes, such the decades-old sovereignty row over the Takeshima Islands, and urged other countries to follow suit.
South Korea has repeatedly rejected calls by Japan to jointly take the Takeshima dispute to the ICJ to resolve the issue once and for all.
Japan Times 2012.9.30
［資料］ Wartime sexual slavery 共同通信
共同通信の配信記事のタイトル。「S. Korea raises issue of wartime sexual slavery at U.N. assembly（戦時性奴隷）」