During the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday, NBC Asian correspondent Joshua Cooper Ramo made a statement many found offensive: that “every Korean” respected Japan for its recent accomplishments, according to MSN. The comment angered people on social media who are familiar with Korea and Japan's rocky relationship.
The comments are especially disrespectful considering that South Korea is hosting this year's Winter games in Pyeongchang. For those who are not familiar with East Asian history, South Korea’s past is haunted by a brutal 35 years of Japanese rule that ended after World War II. Many Koreans still view their former colonizers as an oppressive force. "His incorrect and insensitive comment about Korea's history has enraged many of [Korea's] people," wrote Jung Min-ho in The Korea Times. "Tens of thousands of Koreans and non-Koreans alike have criticized Ramo and NBC Sports on their social media, urging them to correct this misinformation and apologize."
In response to the backlash, NBC released an apology statement read live on NBCSN Saturday. The statement reads:
"During our coverage of the Parade of Nations on Friday we said it was notable that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the trip to Korea for the Olympics, ‘representing Japan, a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945 but every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural, technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.’ We understand the Korean people were insulted by these comments and we apologize."