April 24, 2006
No Samurai Spirit Here!
The crisis is over -- at least for the moment. But the problem still festers, like an open sore. According to the English-language Japanese newspaper Daily Yomiuri:
Japan and South Korea reached an agreement Saturday that says if Tokyo cancels a planned maritime survey near the Takeshima islets, Seoul will not propose naming seafloor topography around the disputed islets at an international conference in June. [Note: they don't promise never to bring it up; just not in June. -- the Mgt.]
Administrative Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi and Yu Myung Hwan, South Korean first vice minister for foreign affairs and trade, reached the agreement to settle the row over the islets in Seoul after their two-day meeting that started Friday...
The two officials agreed to three points:
-- South Korea will not propose Korean names for the seafloor topography around the Takeshima islets, which Seoul calls Tokdo, at the international ocean mapping conference to be held in Germany in June.
-- Japan cancels the maritime survey for the time being.
-- Japan and South Korea will resume by the end of May negotiations by ministry bureau chief-class officials to finalize the borders of their exclusive economic zones.
What I don't understand is why Japan itself doesn't bring up this issue at the maritime conference. It seems to me that Japan should just have let Korea propose renaming the seafloor topography, just so that Japan could protest and bring the whole matter out into the open. Send the survey ship and see whether Korea really has the guts to try such a blatant land-grab in the sight of a million eyes.
My Japanese friend thinks this is a wonderful resolution. He insists that South Korea never had any intention of physically attacking the Japanese survey ship (even though the ROK has in fact seized Japanese ships, taken sailors hostage, and even killed Japanese in that area over the past fifty years).
Republic of Korea President Roh Moo-hyun is facing re-election, my friend says, and he just wanted to talk tough because of the extreme anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea. Japan's truce offer gave Roh an excuse to back down, says Mr. Japanese Friend. This was settled as a result of the level-headed actions of Japanese politicians, and he is proud of Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi.
I say "baloney!"
I totally disagree with this assessement. In this negotiation, South Korea lost nothing; they just agreed not to do something they hadn't done yet anyway. It was Japan who suspended the survey ship that was already en route. And why shouldn't Japan be able to survey international waters? Whatever happened to "freedom of the seas?"
They avoided a shooting war for now, but it's only a Band-Aid. The fact is that South Korea still surrounds Takeshima island and considers itself legally and morally justified to threaten any Japanese ship -- fishing boat or scientific survey ship -- that comes near to "their" island. Besides, South Korea did not permanently give up renaming in Korean the seafloor topography around the disputed islets; they only posponed it.
It seems to me that the only side backing down here was Japan. Japan has a very strong Navy... but the biggest gun in the world is only as strong as the will to pull the trigger.
Japan has lost its will, its spirit, and any moral claim to any territory at all. If you won't defend it -- you don't deserve it.
Hatched by Sachi on this day, April 24, 2006, at the time of 6:31 AM
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Yes, yes, I know: "De mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est" (do not speak ill of the dead). But why not? I say, go ahead and speak ill of the undeserving dead. Erstwhile South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun is dead.... [Read More]
Tracked on May 25, 2009 11:28 AM
The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman
Republic of Korea President Roh Moo-hyun is facing re-election, my friend says, and he just wanted to talk tough because of the extreme anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea.
So Japan is in the same boat as Bush is with Europe? ;-)
The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman at April 24, 2006 3:26 PM
The following hissed in response by: Airdale
"but the biggest gun in the world is only as strong as the will to pull the trigger."
Getting two nukes dropped on you can have that effect.
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