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Backlash Grows in Comfort Woman Statue Standoff

16:56 January 10, 2017 replay time02:00

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[Anchor]

Attacks from Japan against the comfort woman statue from early in the new year have left Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs baffled.

Though there is room for interpretation, the comfort women agreement broaches the issue of the statue; consequently, voices of criticism are growing against it as an overreaching agreement to begin with.

Cho Sung-hye has more.

[Reporter]

Japan is attacking the comfort woman statue from all dimensions.

Not only has Japan temporarily recalled its ambassador to Korea, but it has also brandished multiple cards simultaneously, including a halt of the currency swap negotiations with Korea and a delay in high-level economic cooperation.

It is particularly noticeable that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is at the forefront of such attacks.

Not only did he called the statue in Busan a "retrogression of the agreement," but he also pressured Korea to show sincerity after mentioning Japan's payment of a billion yen to care for the victims.

He even mentioned the issue of national credibility.

Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs is assessed to be executing a "limited response" against such attacks.

The intent is that it is not appropriate to respond to every single attack from Japan, but there are also considerable voices that point out that this reflects the Korean government's ambiguous stance.

The comfort women agreement that was completed late last year stipulates that the issue of the comfort woman statue will be resolved in an appropriate manner, through the Korean government's consultations with relevant organizations.

To this, Japan listed the resolution of the statue issue as one of the follow-up actions that the Korean government must carry out.

The Korean government has been responding to this by saying, "Since a civil organization placed this statue, it is not something for the government to meddle in."

However, a few Korean experts question whether this was an overreaching attempt by the Korean government for an early settlement of the comfort women agreement.

As Japan is expected to continue its attacks against the statue, how the Korean government will respond will be an issue of interest.

Cho Sung-hye reporting for Yonhap News TV.

Yonhap News TV: 02-398-4441 (Inquiry on article) 4409 (Report), KakaoTalk/LINE jebo23

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