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Foreign ministry cites need for international comity over 'Abe statue'

All News 16:22 July 28, 2020

SEOUL, July 28 (Yonhap) -- The foreign ministry said Tuesday that international courtesy for foreign leaders should be taken into consideration, after a local botanical garden reportedly installed a pair of bronze statues of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bowing on his knees before a wartime sexual slavery victim.

The garden in the eastern county of Pyeongchang plans to unveil the statues next month, according to local media reports. Its sculptor told local media that Japan must atone for wartime atrocities until South Korea accepts and forgives it.

Japan has bristled at the statue, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga telling reporters Tuesday that the installation of such a statue, if true, is "unacceptable" and would "decisively affect" the relations between the two countries.

Seoul's foreign ministry reacted cautiously.

"We intend to refrain from comments on a private-level event unrelated to the government," the ministry said in a press guidance statement. "However, the government believes it is necessary to take the aspect of international comity toward foreign leaders into consideration as well."

International comity refers to legally nonbinding diplomatic practices carried out by states for foreign countries out of courtesy, such as calling a foreign leader by his or her title.

This file photo shows foreign ministry spokesperson Kim In-chul on March 26, 2019. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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