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S. Korea 'will suffer' if Park shuns military parade in Beijing: state media

All Headlines 11:14 August 12, 2015

BEIJING, Aug. 12 (Yonhap) - South Korea "will suffer" from unspecified damage if President Park Geun-hye shuns a military parade in Beijing early next month commemorating the end of World War II, said a state-run newspaper published by China's ruling Communist Party Wednesday.

China has invited world leaders to attend the Sept. 3 military parade that is expected to highlight Japan's surrender in the war, but many Western leaders are unlikely to attend because it could trumpet China's rivalry with Japan.

South Korean officials said no decision has been made so far on whether Park will attend the military parade. Both Seoul and Washington denied a Japanese media report that the U.S. has asked Park not to attend.

"Certain foreign analysts argue that it is a zero-sum game between South Korea-U.S. ties and Seoul-Beijing relations. It is a disturbance or even interference in the Blue House's independent diplomacy," The Global Times newspaper said in an English-language editorial, referring to Park's office as the "Blue House."

"If Park yields to this pressure, she will set a precedent of restraining the nation's independence. Once such a situation has been created, South Korea will suffer in the future," the editorial said.

The Chinese newspaper carried a similar editorial on Monday about a decision by Park over the upcoming military parade, but Wednesday's editorial took a more caustic tone.

South Korean diplomats in Beijing said China invited both Park and the South Korean military to attend the parade.

However, South Korea feels awkward about accepting the invitation because of a rivalry between China and Japan amid Beijing's increasingly assertive actions in territorial disputes with its neighbors, according to the diplomats.

Another embarrassing point is that the military parade will be staged at Tiananmen Square, where the Chinese Communist Party crushed pro-democracy demonstrations in a bloody crackdown in 1989, the diplomats said.

"Whether Park will make the trip is South Korea's own decision. Since Japan has already hyped up the issue, it is natural for the Chinese people to pay close attention to it," the editorial said. "The Chinese public will have different feelings according to what decision Park makes this time."

South Korea and China are former battlefield foes as China fought alongside North Korea in the 1950-53 Korean War, while the United States and 20 other allied countries fought on South Korea's side under the U.N. flag.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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