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S.Korea welcomes opening of memorial in China for Korean patriot against Japanese colonization

South Korea welcomed Sunday the opening of a memorial hall commemorating An Jung-geun,a Korean patriot who killed a top Japanese official in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

"The South Korean government welcomes and hails the opening of the memorial hall honoring the independence fighter," Yonhap news agency quoted a South Korean Foreign Ministry official as saying.

Ahn Jung Geun shot dead Hirobumi Ito, who had served as the prime minister of Japan four times before becoming resident- general of Korea in 1905, at Harbin railway station on Oct. 26, 1909.

The memorial hall, invested by the Harbin municipal government and railway authorities, consists of exhibition rooms telling the story of Ahn's life and shows the exact spot where the shooting took place.

"People have cherished the memory of Ahn for the past century. Today we erect a memorial to him and call on peace loving people around the world to unite, resist invasions and oppose war," said Sun Yao, vice governor of Heilongjiang.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye asked China to build a memorial for An Jung-geun during last year's summit talks.

Ahn, born in 1879, devoted himself to the education of the Korean people and later joined armed resistance in northeast China and Russia.

After Japan forced the Korean Empire to sign a protectorate treaty in 1905, Ito became the de facto ruler of Korea. He was arrested at the scene of shooting and secretly executed in March 1910 by the Japanese government.

Japan has yet to response to this move. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga previously called Ahn Jung Geun "criminal " and opposed China and S. Korea's decision of building a monument dedicated to him.

[Source: Xinhua, Seoul, 19Jan14]

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