• Thu
  • Aug 28, 2014
  • Updated: 2:31am

China and Japan must put second world war behind them, says Singaporean PM

Lee Hsien Loong tells US think tank that neighbours must end arguments over past atrocities to ensure peace in Asia

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 June, 2014, 11:19am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 June, 2014, 6:34pm

Singapore’s prime minister on Tuesday urged Japan and its neighbours to put the second world war behind them, saying that if they kept reopening issues dating back to the conflict it would be a “continuing sore” in their relations.

“One of the reasons Japan’s difficulties are not just with China, but with also Korea is because of reopening of issues that go back to the second world war and before, which have never been properly put to rest the way they were put to rest in Europe after the war,” Lee Hsien Loong told a think tank during a visit to Washington.

“So it’s really a sovereign choice for the Japanese to make,” Lee said, adding that he was sure the United States would be urging Japan to “act cautiously and circumspectly and try to develop its relationship with its near neighbourhood.”

The legacy of the war was also a matter for Korea and China, Lee said.

“[Japan] can’t do it themselves. It takes two hands to clap, so you need the Chinese and Koreans as well,” he said.

“Unless you can put the second world war behind you, and not keep on reopening issues of comfort women, of aggression, of whether or not bad things were done during the war, I think this is going to be a continuing sore.”

“Comfort women” is the euphemism for women forced to serve in military brothels serving Japanese soldiers before and during the second world war. Many came from China and Korea.

On Monday, South Korea and China protested against Tokyo’s review of a landmark 1993 apology to such women and said Japan should stop trying to whitewash history.

Seoul accused Tokyo of trying to undermine its own apology by saying that Japan and South Korea had worked together on the sensitive wording.

South Korea says Japan has not sufficiently atoned for the women’s suffering and any attempt at questioning the legitimacy of the apology is an indication of its insincerity.

This and other legacies of Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula has complicated ties between two strong allies of the United States in the region that are also, along with an increasingly assertive China, involved in diplomatic efforts to end North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

On Monday, Beijing also called on Japan to take steps to handle the problems of its historical legacy.

Japan invaded China in 1937 and ruled parts of it with a brutal hand for eight years, leaving a legacy of bitterness that has been inflamed by recent territorial disputes. Singapore also suffered brutal Japanese occupation from 1942-1945.


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Europe has accepted post world war 2 Germany and Italy back into its community because Germany and Italy has accepted that they were wrong and has done much to promote world peace post war. Singapore PM is supporting a Japan that deny massive forced rape, insensible massive killing and persecution of people under japanese rule makes lee hsien loong morale value questionable. For continuos US military support, the prime minister has done great unjust to the victims of japanese occupation which include singaporean ancestors. Singapore PM is supporting a japan that glorified and worshipping of war criminals yasukuni temple. No wonder pap is loosing Singaporean support because its leader has fail to know right and wrong.
To daily,
Your suggestion is so laughable. Doesn't affect Singapore? If the dispute surrounding WW2 between China, S. Korea and Japan escalates, the whole region will be affected, and that includes security, economic, peace and the general well-being of the region. The audience at the think-tank wanted to listen to his views, his take on the region because of Singapore is well regarded and taken seriously by both Beijing and Washington. U seriously think the top academics, thinkers, decision makers, politicians and any one who matters in Washington would even ask HK. U guys better sort out your dispute with Beijing over the next CE election and think of how you guys should handle China after the joint declaration runs out in 2047. The clock is ticking. So perhaps it is you who should shut your trap.
It is very unfortunate for South Koreans who have seen Japan is more dangerous than the red China, a nation whom had murdered million of its own people
You equating famine with murder? Did the British 'murder' millions in the Bengal during the 1940s, or Ireland during the 19th century? What about famines in just about every other country throughout history? Isn't that murder according to your warped logic?
yeah, but the Chinese has never invaded and brutalized other countries you dumb fxxx!!!
Max Diethelm
German remorse and more than USD$ 50 Billion reparations to Israel allowed Germany to put the second world war and the holocaust behind it. Japanese intransigence and lack of remorse over Japanese aggression and war crimes in the second world war keeps Japan perpetually trapped in a vicious cycle of provocations and bad relations with her neighbours. Obviously Shinzo Abe praying to war criminals at the infamous Yasukuni Shrine and constant disputes over the Japanese coercion of the hundreds of thousands of sex-slaves poison relations even further. It's quite obvious the Japanese government under PM Shinzo Abe have no interests in respecting history or in having good relations with Japan's neighbours. As long as Japanese lack of remorse and provocations persists, Japan's position in Asia and the world is fraught with misgivings. This situation will continue until the Japanese have the good sense to change.
You have nothing to lose but your chains. HAHA
Wake up people, like the 700,000 in Hong Kong have.
If these disputes lead to war then Singapore and indeed the whole world will be influenced and affected. That i why it is everybody's problem and why the intellectually challenged such as the editors of the Global Times (like the Daily Mail and sun in UK) should not be listened to.
Yes indeed. Let's all forget about WW2 and look forward to WW3. 'Humanity' deserves it.




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