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China to build monument in Xian for Korean independence fighters

All Headlines 16:18 February 24, 2014

BEIJING, Feb. 24 (Yonhap) -- In another slap in the face for Japan, China has been working with South Korea to set up a stone monument in the ancient city of Xian honoring Korean independence fighters, a senior Seoul diplomat said Monday.

During South Korean President Park Geun-hye's state visit to Beijing last June, Seoul and Beijing agreed to build the monument in Xian, the capital of Shaanxi province where the Korean independence army had a presence when Korea was under Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

It marks the second joint project between South Korea and China against Japan's wartime aggression after Beijing opened a memorial hall last month honoring a prominent Korean patriot who assassinated Japan's first colonial ruler of the Korean Peninsula more than a century ago.

"The Chinese side has notified us that it plans to build a pavilion in Xian and set up the monument in honor of the Korean independence army," the senior diplomat said on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

"Both sides have exchanged drafts of the words to be engraved on the stone monument," the diplomat said, adding that the pavilion would be opened to the public "in the near future."

Last month, China opened the memorial hall in the northeastern city of Harbin in honor of Ahn Jung-geun, who shot to death Hirobumi Ito in October 1909, the first Japanese governor general of Korea, at a rail station in Harbin. A year later, he was executed at a Japanese prison in the northern Chinese city of Ryojun, now called Lushun.

Japan lodged a protest against the memorial hall, describing Ahn as a "criminal."

South Korea and China, which suffered from Japan's wartime atrocities during World War II, appear to have been in lockstep with each other to counter rightward moves by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who paid tribute to a controversial shrine in December that honors 14 Class A war criminals.

Tokyo's relations with its neighbors, especially with Beijing and Seoul, have plunged into one of their lowest points in many years over their shared history and territorial disputes.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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