Tokyo: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the leaders of Japan, China and South Korea on Monday to work harder for reconciliation over their wartime past to ensure peace and stability in the region.
In his speech in Tokyo marking the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, Ban said the lack of reconciliation among the three key players of Asia is "a missing link" for peace and stability in northeast Asia despite the UN's engagement.
Ban said history must be remembered correctly but urged Japan and two of its closest neighbors, both victims of Japanese militarist expansion in the first half of the 20th century, to develop forward-looking relations.
"The United Nations has been engaging in a number of regional cooperative mechanisms but Northeast Asia still remains a missing link," he said. "I sincerely hope that the dialogue between countries in the region, in particular Japan, China and the Republic of Korea, will proceed in a forward-looking manner."
"We must lay the ground for genuine reconciliation, harmony, peace and prosperity. In this context, I would urge the leaders in the region to be future-oriented, remembering the past," he said at the UN University in Tokyo.
Japan's relations with China and South Korea have worsened in the past few years because of disputes over history and territorial issues, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government seen as increasing efforts to revise the country's stance on World War II atrocities.
Ban was in Tokyo following his participation in an international disaster conference held in northern Japan.