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(LEAD) Yoon visits mourning altar for ex-Japan PM Abe

All News 18:19 July 12, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with spokesperson's remarks in paras 5, 8)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol visited a mourning altar for former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday, praying for the soul of the late leader and wishing for close cooperation between what he called the "closest neighbors."

Yoon offered a silent tribute in front of the altar set up at the Japanese Embassy's public information and cultural center in downtown Seoul and signed a condolence book before briefly talking with Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Koichi Aiboshi.

In the condolence book, Yoon wrote that he prays for the former prime minister who "dedicated himself to the prosperity and development of Asia."

He also extended his condolences to Abe's family and the Japanese people, writing, "I hope South Korea and Japan, as the closest neighbors, will cooperate closely going forward."

Speaking to the ambassador, Yoon said he was "greatly shocked" at the news of Abe's death and reiterated his "deep condolences" for Abe's family and the Japanese people, according to his spokesperson Kang In-sun.

Abe was assassinated in the Japanese city of Nara last Friday while giving a speech in support of candidates from his Liberal Democratic Party ahead of key elections on Sunday.

Yoon has expressed a commitment to improving bilateral ties that have been deeply frayed by disputes over the issues of wartime sexual slavery, forced labor and other grievances stemming from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

"We hope President Yoon's condolence call will be an occasion to reaffirm that South Korea and Japan are close neighbors that share values and rules," Kang said in a written briefing. "We also hope it will be a new starting point for South Korea-Japan relations."

Yoon plans to send a delegation led by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo to an official memorial ceremony for Abe in Japan.

This photo, provided by the presidential office, shows President Yoon Suk-yeol offering a silent tribute to late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a mourning altar set up at the Japanese Embassy's public information and cultural center in downtown Seoul on July 12, 2022. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

This photo, provided by the presidential office, shows President Yoon Suk-yeol offering a silent tribute to late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a mourning altar set up at the Japanese Embassy's public information and cultural center in downtown Seoul on July 12, 2022. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
(END)

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