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South Korean president Moon Jae-in cancelled his Japan trip after reports that a Japanese diplomat described Moon's efforts to improve the countries' relations as 'masturbating

Published by Business Insider on Tue, 20 Jul 2021

<p><img src="https://static4.businessinsider.com/image/5d5eb6a5f4fc242ea83fcc1a-1629/ap18036437853741.jpg" border="0" alt="Moon Jae-in" data-mce-source="Jae C. Hong/AP" data-mce-caption="South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks during the opening ceremony of the 132nd IOC session ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018."></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>South Korean President&nbsp;Moon&nbsp;Jae-in will not visit&nbsp;Tokyo&nbsp;for the upcoming Olympics, his office said on Monday, scrapping plans for what would have been his first summit with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.</p><p>The announcement came after Seoul lodged a protest&nbsp;over&nbsp;a news report on Friday that a senior&nbsp;diplomat&nbsp;at Japan's embassy in Seoul had said&nbsp;Moon&nbsp;was "masturbating" when describing his efforts to improve relations between the two countries.</p><p>"President&nbsp;Moon&nbsp;has decided not to visit Japan,"&nbsp;Moon's press secretary Park Soo-hyun told a briefing, adding both sides had explored ways to tackle rows&nbsp;over&nbsp;history and boost cooperation but failed to reach agreement.</p><p>"The discussions were held amicably and made considerable progress, but it still fell short of being considered as a summit result, and we took other circumstances into account," Park said, without elaborating.</p><p>Suga declined to comment on&nbsp;Moon's decision, but described the Japanese&nbsp;diplomat's&nbsp;remarks&nbsp;as "inappropriate."</p><p>Moon's office said it turned "sceptical" about his potential&nbsp;trip&nbsp;after the Japanese&nbsp;diplomat's "unacceptable" comment.</p><p>Moon&nbsp;will instead send the culture minister to Friday's opening ceremony as head of the Korean delegation, his office said, wishing Japan safe and successful Olympics.</p><p>The latest uproar further inflamed relations between the two nations feuding&nbsp;over&nbsp;territorial claims and their wartime history, dashing any remaining hopes that the&nbsp;Tokyo&nbsp;Games might offer a fresh start for bilateral and regional cooperation.</p><p>The neighbours have long been at odds&nbsp;over&nbsp;compensation for Koreans forced to work in Japanese firms and military brothels during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.</p><p>Last month, another spat erupted&nbsp;over&nbsp;a map on the&nbsp;Tokyo&nbsp;Olympics website showing a set of Korea-controlled islands as Japanese territory.</p><p>Japan's Yomiuri newspaper earlier on Monday reported&nbsp;Moon&nbsp;would meet Suga in&nbsp;Tokyo&nbsp;on Friday, but both governments quickly denied a meeting had been finalised, with&nbsp;Moon's office citing an "last minute obstacle."</p><p>Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said&nbsp;Tokyo's ambassador in Seoul Koichi Aiboshi cautioned his deputy&nbsp;over&nbsp;his "regrettable"&nbsp;remarks, but did not elaborate when asked whether he would be sacked as reported by Yomiuri.</p><p>South Korea's vice foreign minister, Choi Jong-kun, summoned Aiboshi on Saturday to protest.&nbsp;Moon's office said it took note of Kato's comment, but called for&nbsp;Tokyo&nbsp;to take steps to prevent such a situation from recurring.</p><p>Suga this month called relations between Japan and South Korea "very difficult", adding that it was up to Seoul to address history disputes and other problems.</p><p>Moon&nbsp;had earlier hoped the Olympics may offer an opportunity for North and South Korea to improve relations and revive peace talks, before Pyongyang announced it would not take part because of coronavirus concerns.</p><p>(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim, Ju-min Park in&nbsp;Tokyo, Hyonhee Shin, Sangmi Cha and Jack Kim in Seoul; Editing by William Mallard, Gerry Doyle, Lincoln Feast and Tomasz Janowski)</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/south-korean-president-cancels-japan-trip-after-unacceptable-diplomat-remarks-2021-7#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/sneaky-ways-costco-buy-more-tricks-2018-5">Sneaky ways Costco gets you to buy more</a></p>
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