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President Park to Visit China for WWII Event
Unexpected Gesture
President Park to Visit China for WWII Event
  • By Cho Jin-young
  • August 20, 2015, 12:15
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A Chinese military parade in 2009 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Communist rule.
A Chinese military parade in 2009 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Communist rule.

 

President Park Geun-hye will visit China early next month to attend a ceremony highlighting the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Cheongwadae, or the Presidential Office, said on Aug. 20 that Park accepted President Xi Jinping's invitation and is expected to leave on Sept. 2 for a three-day trip, as China plans to host the event on Sept. 3 in Beijing.

However, Ju Chul-ki, the senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security, said in a briefing, “It has not been determined whether Park will attend a military parade in Beijing.” adding, “We are reviewing the matter of attending the parade still.”

The briefing came out around two weeks after Japan’s Kyodo News reported that the U.S. government has told Park that her attendance at the Beijing event would send a false message to the world that China has caused a rift in the U.S.-South Korea alliance, adding that the U.S. government expressed concerns through its embassy in Seoul and other channels. However, both Cheongwadae and the White House denied the reports.

In the meantime, Korean rival parties welcomed Park’s visit to China to attend its celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

“We welcome President Park’s decision to visit China to advance Seoul-Beijing relations,” said Kim Young-woo, the ruling Saenuri Party's chief spokesman, at a press briefing at the National Assembly. “The visit will serve as an opportunity to build trust between the two nations and strengthen their mutual strategic relationship,” Kim added.

The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) also complimented Park's planned visit. “The party welcomes Park’s decision, although it seems a little belated,” said Rep. Yoo Eun-hae, a spokeswoman for the NPAD. He, however, expressed that Park should play the lead role in deciding whether or not she will attend the military parade.