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South Korea postpones joint naval drill with Japan in textbook row
South Korea on Tuesday postponed an upcoming joint naval drill with Japan as a protest aimed at pressing Tokyo to revise controversial school history books, officials said.
"The defense ministry believes the South Korea-Japan military exchanges should be pushed ahead in trust based on a correct historical view and the public support," a defense ministry spokesman said in a statement.
The statement said a maritime rescue exercise, set to be conducted off the island of Cheju in early June, would be postponed.
Defense officials said the postponement will be indefinite unless the Japanese government makes efforts to rectify the textbooks.
They also warned that in another countermeasure, proposed visits to Seoul by top Japanese defense officials in July could be delayed.
Earlier Tuesday, Foreign Minister Han Seung-Soo "invited" Japanese Ambassador Terusake Terada to his office to make an official request that the Japanese government change 35 passages in eight newly approved history textbooks.
At a 15-minute meeting, Han called for Tokyo to quickly "correct" the passages in the school textbooks, which "distorted, downplayed or omitted" Japanese wartime atrocities and invasions.
The books avoid using the word invasion to describe Japan's colonial aggression in Korea and China, and make no mention of the tens of thousands of Asian women used as sex slaves for Japanese troops.
The postponed naval drill would have been the second of its kind. The first was held in August, 1999. Defense chiefs of the two countries agreed last May to conduct the maritime exercise every other year.
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