President Park tries softer line with Tokyo

Japanese officials got a pleasant surprise Aug. 15 when South Korean President Park Geun-hye responded favourably to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The night before, immediately following Abe's speech, South Korean officials went over the Korean translation of Abe's statement with a fine-tooth comb. They believed it was short on substance, noting that it failed to state clearly who was responsible for the invasion of Korea and its colonial domination, and that Abe avoided making an apology in his own words. They also said the statement paid greater heed to China than Korea

Flash reports criticising the statement were aired on South Korean TV, but they were relatively mild and did nothing to damage relations between the two countries.