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Memorial hall for Korean nationalist Ahn Jung Geun opens in China


A memorial hall built in honor of Korean nationalist Ahn Jung Geun, who shot dead the first Japanese governor general of Japanese-ruled Korea, opened Sunday at Harbin Railway Station in northeastern China, where the assassination occurred in 1909, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said.

The Ahn Jung Geun memorial hall was built after South Korean President Park Geun Hye raised the idea of erecting a monument for Ahn when she met with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to China last June.

"We welcome the opening of the memorial hall and it is highly appreciated," the South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

China's official Xinhua News Agency said the Ahn Jung Geun memorial hall opened in Harbin city on Sunday. The report made no mention of the size of the hall, nor about its functions.

According to the South Korean Foreign Ministry, the memorial hall was built inside the VIP facility at Harbin Railway Station overlooking the platform where Ito was assassinated.

The hall, a 200-square-meter room, features displays of historical records on the assassination and photos of Ahn and memorabilia.

Ahn, who is celebrated as a hero in Korea, shot Ito to death at close range as he arrived at Harbin Railway Station on Oct. 26, 1909, for a meeting with the chief Russian representative in then Manchuria.

The Japanese government regards Ahn as a murderer and has protested at the Chinese move to build the memorial hall.

Ito was Japan's first prime minister under Emperor Meiji and held the office four times between 1885 and 1901.