Activists demand US apology over Wendy Sherman’s remarks

March 4, 2015
(Yonhap)

Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman’s remarks made a lot Koreans very angry. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — A group of civic activists in South Korea called on the United States Wednesday to apologize over Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman’s controversial remarks on historical issues stemming from Japan’s wartime misdeeds.

In a seminar in Washington last week, Sherman said nationalism can be exploited and that it is not difficult for political leaders to “earn cheap applause by vilifying a former enemy,” adding, “such provocations produce paralysis, not progress.”

Sherman did not mention specific countries, but local media interpreted the remarks as targeting South Korea and China, which often slam Japan for its war-time atrocities and other historical misdeeds.

Her remarks immediately sparked an angry reaction here over the U.S. government appearing to take sides with Japan on the highly sensitive historical issue in the region.

Activists call for a U.S. apology over Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman's controversial remarks on Northeast Asian history issues in a rally in central Seoul on March 4, 2015.

Activists call for a U.S. apology over Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman’s controversial remarks on Northeast Asian history issues in a rally in central Seoul on March 4, 2015.

“These are very dangerous remarks by Sherman, which side with Japan’s Abe government engaged in covering up and distorting historical misdeeds,” activists belonging to civic groups, including the left-leaning Korea Alliance of Progressive Movement, said in a news conference held near the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.

Sherman unjustly portrayed South Korea and China’s calls for an apology from Japan as provocations and indulged Japan, the civic activists said.

“It’s deplorable to see the U.S. trying to defend Japan for its national interest,” they said, calling on the U.S. government to offer an apology and reprimand Sherman.

They also urged the South Korean government to lodge a complaint with the U.S. and receive an apology.

Feuds stemming from shared history among South Korea, China and Japan have often strained Japan’s relations with the two neighbors, as the country has failed to atone fully for atrocities committed during World War II, including the imperial Japanese army’s sexual enslavement of Korean and Chinese women.

5 Comments

  1. hidefumi yano

    March 4, 2015 at 5:49 PM

    The US is going to face a big problem
    domestically in the near future if US keep listening to South Korean Americans , just because politicians want more votes from them !!
    What will happen to the fundamental of America’s policy ? Unite we stand , divite we fall !! Don’t sell your soul to Seoul !! Afro Americans , Native Americans , Hispanic Americans , look for bright future of America !!

  2. Chris

    March 4, 2015 at 7:27 PM

    hidefumi yano you are a fool. Sure let bygones be bygones but with that don’t stir the fire. You’re response does just that. Politics is politics. Japanese politicians want more votes so they might be aligning with the imperialistic or at least apologists to old oblivious policies instead of atoning for past mistakes. Did you think of that? If standing united in a corrupt and perverted way of thought is allowable, what kind of society does the Japanese and your want of Americans lead to but more strife? Problem is that the US still listens to “has been” Japan. There are other players now and not the age old Japan who is the leaders of Asia.

  3. TS

    March 5, 2015 at 1:42 AM

    Yes, Wendy Sherman should apologize. Given that she is Jewish, she should understand that blaming the Jews for the Holocaust makes no sense… which, in essence is what she is doing.

  4. Koram

    March 6, 2015 at 1:51 AM

    Korea clearly needs better translators. Read her speech. There is not one shred of English language in there that places more blame on Korea. If anything, she seems to be calling out ALL three countries for doing the same exact thing, not just Korea. Japanese press hasn’t reported on it much, which means they know they are culpable as well. The Korean press is irresponsible with this ridiculous interpretation (more like vigorous twisting) of Sherman’s words. Then look what happens directly after the press incites this protest…US Ambassador gets attacked! Korea needs to get a handle on their emotions and victim-playing already.

  5. bygones origin

    December 4, 2016 at 10:11 PM

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