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Seoul breaks military ties with Tokyo
South Korea's Defense Ministry has announced it's suspending military exchanges with Japan because of rally over school history textbooks. South Korea is reportedly angry at what it calls attempts by Japan to whitewash its military past. Joining me now from Seoul is our correspondent Caroline Gluck. Caroline, what exactly are they objecting to?
Well, South Korea says that the books basically whitewash Japan's colonial wartime past, gloss over several issues that authorities in Tokyo may deem...that puts Japan in a bad light. Seoul is particularly upset at the fact that one of the books, at least, makes no mention of the existence of the tens of thousands Asian women, most of whom were Korean, who were forced to serve as wartime sex slaves for the Japanese military.
Are these new history books?
They were approved back in April. Then South Korea launched a number of objections and called on the Japanese authorities to revise 35 passages. Also, Beijing has asked Japan to revise 8 passages. And then earlier this week, we had the final response from Tokyo, that they would make two changes but certainly not the wider revisions called for by Seoul.
How significant are these military exchanges that they're withdrawing from?
They're significant in that they're very high level. The two countries have been building up a great deal of confidence and trust over the last few years. Historically, they've been bitter enemies. Japan was the colonial power. It occupied Korea for 35 years, and many Koreans still harbor very bitter memories of that time, a time when they were prevented from speaking their own language and had to pledge allegiance to the Japanese emperor. So, any contact between the two countries has been very important in rebuilding trust and confidence, and I think this will be seen as quite a serious measure.
Caroline Gluck in Seoul, thanks.
Fallout n. 附带结果，余波
Whitewash v. 粉饰，掩盖
gloss over 粉饰，掩盖
pledge allegiance 表示效忠