politics

U.S. says Japan, S Korea 'soul searching' needed

16 Comments
By David Brunnstrom

A senior U.S. official says that Japan and South Korea need to do some "soul searching" about political decisions that have damaged relations between the two U.S. allies in recent months and called for calm words from their leaders.

Marc Knapper, deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Japan and Korea, told a Washington think tank it was critical to ensure "productive and constructive relationships" between the allies in the face of shared challenges posed by North Korea, Russia and China.

He cited a joint patrol last month by Russian and Chinese aircraft near a group of islets claimed by both South Korea and Japan, calling it "a direct challenge to our three countries; an attempt to take advantage of the current frictions in Japan-South Korea relations."

"We must not let challenges in the region drive a further wedge between and among our three countries," Knapper said in address at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

"Japan and Korea each suffer consequences when their bilateral ties worsen and we believe that each bears responsibility for improvement for their relations.

"We believe that some soul searching is in order about political decisions that have damaged bilateral trust in recent months and by the same token, we believe that prudence is required to prevent tensions contaminating the economic and security aspects of Japan-South Korea ties.

"Calm confident words from national leaders, we believe, will generate a similar response for their nations."

The unusually frank comments underlined the depth of concern in Washington about the dispute between the two long-term allies which has brought the relationship between Seoul and Tokyo to arguably its lowest ebb in more than half a century.

Diplomatic tensions intensified after a South Korean court last year ordered Japanese companies to compensate Koreans who were forced to work for Japanese occupiers during World War Two, a matter Tokyo says was settled by a 1965 treaty normalizing bilateral ties.

On July 4, in apparent retaliation, Japan restricted exports of high-tech materials to South Korea, sparking a boycott by South Korean consumers of Japanese products and services.

This month, South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowed that South Korea would not be "defeated again" by its neighbor and promised counter-measures after Japan's cabinet approved the removal of South Korea's fast-track export status from Aug. 28.

Seoul has also said it will review whether to maintain a military information sharing pact with Tokyo, which has been important in ensuring a coordinated approach to dealing with the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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   "Japan and Korea each suffer consequences when their bilateral ties worsen and we believe that each bears responsibility for improvement for their relations.

Which basically means figure this out among yourselves

   Calm confident words from national leaders

Is he really talking about Moon and Abe?

   Diplomatic tensions intensified after a South Korean court last year ordered Japanese companies to.....

So I guess S. Korean started it first

   On July 4, in apparent retaliation, Japan restricted exports of high-tech materials to South Korea, sparking a boycott by South Korean consumers of Japanese products and services.

...and the SK is angry for putting Japan in a position to retaliate

   This month, South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowed that South Korea would not be "defeated again"

I don't think he knows what he is talking about and the things he says makes the NK leadership look rational and logical

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Indeed.., senior offical or not he is not familiar with or knows and understands the long historical relationship and the post war relationship that Japan and Korea has when "soul searching" is used. Also this is not a matter of rhetoric and talk.., it is "actions" that each party takes that can make a major difference in the outcome. Instead of dreamy and spiritualistic idealism, if he knows better, suggest a meaningful dialog environment or a a positive action each party may take.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What a farce

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The problem is SK's hysteria and It is so wrong US to see and treat two countries equally.

On July 4, in apparent retaliation, Japan restricted exports of high-tech materials to South Korea, sparking a boycott by South Korean consumers of Japanese products and services.

Amazing just media defines this so apparent? SK has kept ignoring Japan's requests to cooperatively inform more on it's export admin for longer than 3 years. In order not to be criticized as apparent retaliation just because timing was not good, Japan should have kept silent shutting it's mouth and waited only to find no response, taking the risks of illegal transfers of weaponizable materials?

Ridiculous.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

What kind of shared challenges are from China ? I don't get it, Koreans don't get it, Japanese don't get it, Chinese don't get it, all northeast Asians don't get it.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

The US is not a country that should be lecturing other countries about "soul searching".

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The US should not be speaking about Japan and South Korea when they themselves are causing a different trade war with China

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What a useless and pointless comment from the United States. So much for our "pivot" to Asia.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

One country starts, the other continues. If Japan has known for a while that SK has been illegally transferring products to other nations then why didn’t Japan speak up? Why wait for now? One’s as guilty as the other. It looks like Japan is retaliating for bad business products but with poor timing. Let’s forget finger pointing and clear the table.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Same story in the Korea Herald with extra info:

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20190808000680

During the discussion that followed, Scott Snyder, a senior fellow for Korean studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, criticized the Moon Jae-in administration for “not taking the political leadership necessary to protect the relationship with Japan from domestic political spillover, which is arguably in Japan’s longer-term strategic interest.”

“The Moon administration has yet to realize an optimal balance between domestic and foreign affairs,” Snyder said, adding that he would like to see the South Korean government paying compensation domestically to the victims of wartime forced labor while trying to pursue a dialogue with Japan.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Seoul has also said it will review whether to maintain a military information sharing pact with Tokyo, which has been important in ensuring a coordinated approach to dealing with the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons.

The only important part of this article.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

During the discussion that followed, Scott Snyder, a senior fellow for Korean studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, criticized the Moon Jae-in administration for “not taking the political leadership necessary to protect the relationship with Japan from domestic political spillover, which is arguably in Japan’s longer-term strategic interest.”

“The Moon administration has yet to realize an optimal balance between domestic and foreign affairs,” Snyder said, adding that he would like to see the South Korean government paying compensation domestically to the victims of wartime forced labor while trying to pursue a dialogue with Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

During the discussion that followed, Scott Snyder, a senior fellow for Korean studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, criticized the Moon Jae-in administration for “not taking the political leadership necessary to protect the relationship with Japan from domestic political spillover, which is arguably in Japan’s longer-term strategic interest.”

“The Moon administration has yet to realize an optimal balance between domestic and foreign affairs,” Snyder said, adding that he would like to see the South Korean government paying compensation domestically to the victims of wartime forced labor while trying to pursue a dialogue with Japan.

This is essentially what I've been saying for years now - the whole mess is the result of inept Korean leadership. It's absolutely pathetic.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Didn't he say "Seoul searching"?

As in looking for the paper trail for the illegal transferred technology?

Alternatively, it really was soul searching, who do we need to call? Oprah or Jerry Springer?

Next up, Mike Pompeo offers astrologically based relationship advice.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

USA should do some soul searching over appointing the deputy assistant secretary.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Forgiving builds strength.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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