WASHINGTON — A grand, aging, red-brick house in Washington has become an unlikely setting for South Korea's festering grievances against Japan amid growing tensions between two staunch U.S. allies.
More than a century ago, the building housed the first Korean diplomatic mission in the U.S. But shortly before annexing Korea in 1910, imperial Japan bought it for a nominal $5 fee then sold it off. Now South Korea has reacquired it for $3.5 million and plans to use the building to showcase its history — a jab at modern-day Japan.
Koreans are angry over imperial Japan's use of Korean sex slaves during World War II. Also, Japan claims tiny islands that are occupied by South Korea.
The tensions have set back military cooperation the U.S. wants to foster.