China News Service, March 6 (Gan Tian) "We were beaten, kicked, and forced to work. I hope they can apologize soon." More than 7 years ago, several Korean women who were forced to work during World War II were victimized The reporter held a press conference in Tokyo to accuse the defendant of what the Japanese company had done.

  However, what they waited for was not an apology from Japan, but a "third-party compensation" plan from the South Korean government.

  On March 6, 2023 local time, the South Korean government officially announced that it would compensate South Korean laborers who were forced by Japan during World War II in the form of "third-party compensation".

  South Korea's move has been welcomed by Japan and the United States, but it has sparked fierce criticism in South Korea's domestic public opinion.

South Korea's largest opposition party, the Democratic Party of Korea, labeled the government "humiliating diplomacy". Netizens even said, "What we want is not 'donation', but compensation."

The picture shows Park Jin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea.

"Compensation" becomes "donation"?

  At a press conference on March 6, the South Korean government announced a "third-party compensation" plan to solve the problem of forced laborers' claims against Japan during World War II.

  The so-called "third-party compensation", that is, the Japanese defendant company does not participate, but the Korean company raises funds and pays the victim.

  South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin stated that in order to provide relief and aid to the victims and their families, the "Japanese Imperial Forced Labor Victims Support Foundation" under the Korean Ministry of Administration and Security will come forward to pay the compensation and arrears of interest for the 2018 final court judgment.

  South Korea and Japan signed the "Korea-Japan Claims Agreement" in 1965 to resolve the issue of forced labor compensation.

It is understood that the first batch of compensation will be voluntarily donated by about 16 Korean companies that benefit from this agreement, including POSCO.

  In addition, if the lawsuit against Japan for forced labor has not yet been judged, if the plaintiff wins the final judgment, the Korean Foundation will also pay the plaintiffs the full amount of compensation and arrears of interest.

Image source: South Korea News Agency report screenshot

"Be sure to apologize first"

  "I heard that the salary is high and I can go to school. I went to Japan when I was 13 years old, but I was deceived. The Japanese who once said that they want to live with integrity, why haven't they admitted their mistakes in the past 70 years?" In 2015, at the age of 85 The Korean grandmother Liang Jinde and several other Korean female victims held a press conference in Tokyo to accuse the accused Japanese company of what they had done.

  From 1910 to 1945, Japan implemented colonial rule on the Korean peninsula and forced a large number of laborers to work in Japan as coolies.

During World War II, Japan's forced labor compensation from South Korea is also known as the "biggest unsolved case" between South Korea and Japan.

  In 2018, the South Korean Grand Court (Supreme Court) ruled that the Japanese defendant companies, Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, should compensate Korean workers from World War II.

A total of 15 victims won the lawsuit, including Nippon Steel Workers, Hiroshima Mitsubishi Heavy Industries workers, and Nagoya Mitsubishi's hard-working volunteers.

  But Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have always refused to pay compensation.

The Japanese side insisted that through the "Korea-Japan Claiming Rights Agreement", the issue of Korean workers' claiming rights has been resolved, and Korean people can no longer claim compensation from Japan.

  On the day when South Korea announced the "third-party compensation" plan, the 93-year-old Liang Jinde said, "I will not accept money like begging."

  "There are other people who made mistakes, and there are other people who need to apologize. I don't think it can be solved (by means of repayment by a third party), and it cannot be regarded as an apology."

  "Don't underestimate them just because they're old people. Make sure to apologize first and then fix everything else," she stressed.

Citizen groups protest the South Korean government's WWII labor claims settlement in Seoul, South Korea, March 6.

South Korea criticizes: "Humiliation diplomacy!"

  As for the "third-party compensation" plan, South Korean citizen groups from all walks of life stated that the South Korean government is eager to solve the problem of forced labor claims, and does not hesitate to conduct "humiliating diplomacy", urging the government to stop this behavior.

  Some South Korean netizens criticized: "What we want is not a 'donation', but compensation. The party making compensation should not be the Korean consortium, but Japanese companies such as Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The victims of forced labor need the Japanese side. Apologies!"

  South Korea's largest opposition party, the Common Democratic Party, also labeled the South Korean government "humiliating diplomacy".

  The party’s spokesman, Park Sung-joon, condemned that the “third-party compensation” plan is an “exoneration talisman” to exonerate Japan from its historical responsibilities. This kind of agreement is not for the sake of the victims, nor is it responsible for the companies that forced labor in Japan. .

On March 1, 2023, South Korean President Yin Xiyue delivered a speech at the commemorative ceremony of the "104th Anniversary of the March First Independence Movement".

Welcome to change or "bury the detonator"?

  Japan welcomed the South Korean government's move.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated at the Senate Budget Committee on the 6th that South Korea is an "important neighboring country that should cooperate in dealing with various issues of the international community" and that strategic cooperation needs to be further strengthened.

Japanese Foreign Minister Lin Fang said in response to media questions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: "This is a move to restore Japan-South Korea relations to a healthy state, and we affirm it."

  In this regard, the United States also quickly voiced.

Biden praised the relationship between South Korea and Japan for "opening a breakthrough new chapter", and US Secretary of State Blinken also expressed his "appreciation" for this "historic" plan.

  The analysis pointed out that the Yun Xiyue government, which advocates improving relations between Japan and South Korea, has been in power for about 10 months. It strives to solve the biggest problem, and also takes the resumption of the "shuttle diplomacy" between the heads of state of the two countries into consideration, and seeks to return to normal relations as soon as possible.

Japan and South Korea are pushing forward to hold a summit meeting within three months at the earliest. It is expected that Japan's export restrictions on South Korea and the "South Korea-Japan Military Intelligence Protection Agreement" and other issues will be resolved in a package.

  At the commemorative ceremony of the "104th Anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement" just a few days ago, Yin Xiyue also called Japan a "cooperative partner", hoping that the two countries will abandon historical grievances and become "cooperative partners with common universal values."

  However, this remark caused public grievances. Some civic groups said: "The current regime has not only failed to properly account for history, but instead promoted the humiliating and deceitful Korea-Japan agreement, which runs counter to the independent and peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula. We will focus on the anger and anger of the people in the region. determined to strongly condemn the current regime."

  Today, the South Korean government announced the "third-party compensation" plan, which once again set off anger in South Korea.

The Democratic Party of Korea's "Yon Seok-yue Regime Diplomatic Overturn and Lie Countermeasures Committee" bluntly stated that the government's move will not only be of no benefit to improving South Korea-Japan relations, but will also plant another "detonator" for Japan's diplomacy.