VARIOUS: Groups representing pro-Seoul and pro-Pyongyang residents living in Japan announce reconcialition even...
- Title: VARIOUS: Groups representing pro-Seoul and pro-Pyongyang residents living in Japan announce reconcialition even though the two Koreas remain technically at war
- Date: 17th May 2006
- Summary: (BN04) TOKYO, JAPAN (MAY 17, 2006) (REUTERS) HEAD OF PRO-SEOUL KOREAN RESIDENT UNION IN JAPAN (MINDAN) HA BYEONG-OK (LEFT) AND HEAD OF PRO-PYONGYANG GENERAL ASSOCIATION OF KOREAN RESIDENTS IN JAPAN (CHONGRYON) SO MAN-SUL SIGNING DOCUMENT OF RECONCILIATION, EXCHANGE DOCUMENTS HA AND SO SHAKING HANDS AND HUGGING EACH OTHER
- Reuters ID: LVA2S7OZSBN7YALY30IZP2E74V22
- Duration: 00:00:42
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- Topics: International Relations
- Story Text: In a move that parallels signs of improving ties between South Korea and North Korea, groups representing pro-Seoul and pro-Pyongyang residents in Japan said on Wednesday (May 17) they wanted to patch up a decades-old feud.
The two groups have their roots in an organisation created by Koreans living in Japan after the end of Tokyo's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
But the pro-Seoul Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan), founded in 1946, and the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon), established in 1955, have had a history of antagonism stemming from deep ideological differences.
Mindan's leader, Ha Byeong-ok, and Chongryon's head, So Man-sul, said they had agreed to work together to better the lives of Koreans in Japan.
"Mindan and (Chongryon)...agreed to switch their relationship, which for a long time had been based on animosity and conflict, to one of mutual understanding and harmony," they said in a statement issued after the first-ever meeting between leaders of the two groups.
Momentum toward reconciliation between the two groups picked up after a 2000 summit between then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, according to Japanese media.
Observers believe the two groups share a sense of crisis over the steady decline in the numbers of ethnic Koreans in Japan, who are estimated to total about 600,000 but are shrinking by around 10,000 a year primarily through marriages to Japanese citizens and integration into the Japanese society.
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