SEOUL, April 30 (UPI) -- South Korea's foreign minister said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe missed a "golden opportunity" to rectify Japan's wartime past – and that the Japanese leader did so of "his own accord."
While the prime minister offered "eternal condolences" for U.S. soldiers who perished while fighting Japan in the Pacific, he abstained from issuing an explicit apology to Asian victims of Japanese aggression.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se made his remarks on Friday, two days after Abe's address to Congress.
Yonhap reported Yun said the stable development of South Korea-Japan relations depends on Japan's correct understanding of its history.
Representative Yoo Seung-min of the ruling Saenuri Party said he questioned whether Prime Minister Abe's intermixing of history, security and economy was a prudent move, or whether Abe was making a speech purely out of national interest.
While U.S. reaction to Abe's speech tilted toward positive, China's Xinhua News Agency criticized the Japanese leader and the new Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation.
"Team America: world police now has a more loyal Japanese samurai to join the cast and meddle in global affairs," Xinhua reportedly stated in response to bilateral plans for an increased role for Japan in the Asia-Pacific.
The Chinese media's reaction came after Prime Minister Abe said on Tuesday Washington and Tokyo are "united in our resoluteness in opposing unilateral attempts in changing the status quo," an indirect reference to China's latest acts of land reclamation in the South China Sea.
In Seoul, Yun addressed South Korean concerns about Japan's new defense pact and said, "Without prior agreement, under no condition is Japan's Self-Defense Forces permitted to enter Korea's domain."