By Soo-hyang Choi
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea will take part in Japan’s naval fleet review next month, South Korea said on Thursday, despite objections to Japan’s use of its “Rising Sun” flag, as South Korea seeks to mend ties with its neighbour.
The decision to take part in the fleet review, scheduled for Nov. 6, follows opposition from some South Korean lawmakers due to the use on Japanese warships of the ensign, a centuries-old design that was used by Japan’s military during World War Two.
Many people in South Korea see the red-and-white flag as a symbol of Japan’s past military aggression and its colonisation.
In 2018, Japan decided not to take part in South Korea’s fleet review after South Korea effectively asked Japan not to fly the “Rising Sun” flag on its warships.
South Korea’s defence ministry said in a statement the decision to take part this year was made with the security situation in mind, given the unprecedented pace of North Korea’s weapons tests this year.
South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office in May, has said he wants to improve ties with Japan.
Relations between the U.S. allies have been strained by various disputes including one over compensation for Koreans conscripted by Japan as forced labourers during World War Two.
(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Robert Birsel)