South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday expressed his concern about a “new Cold War” and nationalism seeking to gain hegemony by force, as Russia pressed ahead with its invasion of Ukraine despite global condemnation and sanctions.
“The international order is fluctuating amid the Covid crisis,” Moon said. “State-centered nationalism, which seeks to gain hegemony by force, is also raising its head again. Concerns over a new Cold War are on the rise as well.”
Moon’s speech came a day after South Korea said it will ban exports of strategic items to Russia and join international sanctions to exclude major Russian financial institutions from a key global payment system to increase pressure over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The President also called for Japan to look squarely at history and show a humble attitude over its wartime past in order for the two countries to overcome historical feuds and move forward for cooperation. “In this time of many difficulties, Korea and Japan — close neighbors — must be able to overcome the history of the once unfortunate past and cooperate for the future,” Moon said.
Diplomatic tensions between Seoul and Tokyo have run deep since 2019, when Japan imposed a set of export restrictions against South Korea in a move seen as economic retaliation for South Korean court rulings against Japanese firms involved in forced labour during Japan’s colonial rule.