President Lee Myung-bak said Monday Japan should teach its future generations a correct history amid heightened tensions between the two countries over Tokyo's attempts to renew its territorial claims to South Korea's easternmost island of Dokdo.
"Japan has a responsibility to teach its future generations a correct history," Lee said during his speech on Liberation Day, marking the end of Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
Japan's attempt to lay claims to Dokdo has long been a thorn in relations between the two countries. South Koreans see those claims as a sign that Japan has not fully repented for its colonial rule of Korea.
South Korea has rejected Japan's claims over Dokdo as nonsense because the country regained independence from the colonial rule and reclaimed sovereignty over its territory, including Dokdo and many other islands around the Korean Peninsula.
President Lee said Korea should guard against welfare populism, saying it could lead to national bankruptcy.
"Competitive welfare populism by lawmakers brought about national bankruptcy. We have to avoid repeating the same mistakes," Lee said. "If the state budget is depleted, it would be impossible to continue implementing welfare policies."
Lee also pledged to do the "utmost to realize a balanced budget by 2013 when my term in office comes to an end."
President Lee called for an ethical and responsible market economy as a way to cure a string of problems the global economy faces such as the fiscal crisis, high prices and unemployment.
"The existing market economy must evolve," Lee said. "What is now being demanded is a new model of the market economy that evolves from greedy management to ethical management, from the freedom of capital to the responsibility of capital and from the vicious circle of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer to mutual prosperity."
President said that South and North Korea should build mutual trust in order to open up an "age of peace and cooperation" on the divided peninsula.
"Over the past 60 years, the South and North have lived in conflict. Now is the time to overcome it and open up an age of peace and cooperation," Lee said.
"To this end, it is incumbent for the two sides to build up mutual trust with responsible deeds and a sincere stance. Nothing can be accomplished through provocations. The two sides should bring about peace based on mutual trust, pursuing common prosperity through bilateral cooperation." (Yonhap)