President Moon Jae-in says the challenges South Korea faces today will later help it avoid being swayed by others.
He made the remarks at a luncheon earlier today at the Blue House with around 160 independence patriots and their relatives.
The event comes ahead of National Liberation Day on Thursday, which commemorates the end of Japan's colonial rule over Korea.
Here's the president.
"We do not forget the human values of people-to-people, culture-to-culture and country-to-country coexistence, along with peace and prosperity. As long as we have the power to reflect on history, I am sure that today's hardships will be a stepping stone for us to develop into a country that's not swayed by others."
Although he said Japan's undermining of Korea's efforts to develop friendly bilateral ties is disappointing, President Moon said the government will continue working to resolve the dispute diplomatically.
He also highlighted how important it is to achieve peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula by overcoming division -- the unfinished goal of Koreans from a hundred years ago.
He said the oneness of the people is desperately needed.