BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement by the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan in reaching a breakthrough agreement to resolve their long standing dispute regarding comfort women during World War Two.
“I welcome this agreement and the leadership exhibited by both Prime Minister Abe and President Park to settle this longstanding issue in a way that recognizes the suffering of the comfort women and that is appropriate for both sides.
“This is a painful and difficult issue in Korea that will forever stir heart-wrenching emotions. It is vital that both nations never forget the past, and while the scars of a painful period in human history will remain, it is my sincere hope that Korea and Japan will build toward a prosperous future together in order to deepen and strengthen their relations in a rapidly changing Asia-Pacific region.
“Both nations have demonstrated tremendous bravery and fortitude in forging this agreement. This development has the potential to pave the way for a new path forward between two close U.S. allies and I stand ready to work alongside our partners in Seoul and Tokyo to advance this relationship.
“Up to 200,000 women were estimated to have been forced to serve as comfort women for Japanese soldiers during World War Two, many of them Korean. In Maryland which is home to a dynamic and vibrant Korean-American community, this issue remains a deeply personal one and though I know this announcement can never fully heal the pain caused during that period, the actions taken today by the Korean and Japanese governments demonstrates true courage and I hope will allow for future generations in the region to flourish and thrive.”