SEOUL, Aug. 15 (Yonhap) -- Rival parties clashed over a long-running controversy over the founding day of the Republic of Korea Wednesday as the country marked the 73rd anniversary of its liberation from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

Conservatives have long claimed that the country was founded on Aug. 15, 1948, when the South Korean government was launched after Korea was liberated from Japan's control in 1945 and then divided into the capitalist South and the communist North.

But the liberal bloc says that April 13, 1919, when the Korean government-in-exile was established in Shanghai, should be regarded as the day of the republic's founding.

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) said that the conservatives' claim is an outdated idea based on ideological division. But the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) insisted that to deny the country's founding in 1948 is to disavow South Korea's legitimacy.

"This year's Liberation Day is meaningful in that North Korea and the United States held a historic summit and the two Koreas set to hold their third summit under the Moon Jae-in administration," the DP said.

"But the politics are still dogged by divisions and standoff. The LKP is trying to incite an ideological row with its claim of the country's founding in 1948," it said. "We call for productive criticism and cooperation for the country's future."

The LKP raised doubts about President Moon's historical views.

"It is questionable why the Moon government denies the historical fact that the Republic of Korea was established in 1948," the conservative party said. "It is the government that denies its status as the sole legitimate government on the Korean Peninsula."

Source: Yonhap News Agency