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Japan-South Korea rift

South Korea's Yoon says Japan has transformed into a partner

President calls for cooperation with Tokyo, Washington in independence day speech

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, center left, stands next to his wife at an event to commemorate the 104th anniversary of a protest movement against Japan's 35-year occupation of the Korean Peninsula.   © Yonhap/Kyodo

SEOUL -- South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Wednesday said Japan was a partner nation that shares universal values, indicating that Seoul seeks to mend the fractious ties with its former occupier at a time of rising regional threats.

"A century after the March First Independence Movement, Japan has transformed from a militaristic aggressor of the past into a partner that shares the same universal values with us," Yoon said in a speech to commemorate the 104th anniversary of a protest movement against Japan's 35-year occupation of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

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