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Main opposition condemns Korea-Japan summit talks as failure

May 27, 2024 - 15:50 By Jung Min-kyung
President Yoon Suk Yeol, right, shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during their meeting at the presidential office in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap)

The main opposition party here on late Sunday denounced the latest bilateral talks between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, calling it Yoon’s “declaration of surrender” to Tokyo.

The Democratic Party of Korea, in a written briefing released after the conclusion of talks between Yoon and Kishida, criticized the South Korean leader’s decision to recognize the Japanese government’s apparent pressure on Naver to give up its ownership of the messenger app Line, separately from diplomatic relations.

According to the presidential office, Yoon told Kishida that the matter “is not a demand for Naver to sell its shares, and I recognize it as a matter separate from bilateral diplomatic relations.”

Party spokesperson Hwang Jung-a, in a written briefing released by the main opposition, started by asking “Is (Yoon) planning to give up not only Korea’s past but the future to Japan?”

“In the closed-door meeting, Yoon failed to urge (Kishida) to give up on Japan’s greed to steal Line, but merely decided to make a review of the matter by saying that it is to be recognized separately from Korea-Japan bilateral relations and well-manage the issue,” it added.

The party said that Yoon even took a step further by “defending Japan’s stance” through his remark expressing understanding that Japan was not demanding Naver’s shares.

“(The latest summit) was technically Yoon’s move to wave a white flag of defeat and a declaration of surrender (to Japan),” it said.

The latest feud surrounding the popular Line messaging app involves Tokyo-based LY Corp., the operator of Line controlled by a 50-50 joint venture between Naver and SoftBank of Japan.

Since March, Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has directed LY Corp. to lower its dependency on Naver in the wake of a data breach incident last year, involving a massive leak of some 510,000 pieces of personal information involving Line users and business partners through Line’s subcontractor Naver Cloud. Pressured by the Japanese government, SoftBank is reportedly making moves to acquire Naver's stake in LY Corp, which industry watchers say is a move to reduce the Korean IT company’s control over Line, used by 70 percent of the Japanese population.

Kishida was on a two-day visit to South Korea for separate meetings with Yoon and Chinese Premier Li Qiang, with their tripartite session held Monday.