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[Editorial] Korean Government Keeps Close Watch on Conflict between China and Japan

[Editorial] Korean Government Keeps Close Watch on Conflict between China and Japan

Posted April. 13, 2005 23:39,   


Tension between China and Japan triggered by Japan’s distortion of its history textbooks has been increasing. It seems that in China, the anti-Japanese demonstration has spread to all Chinese people around the world beyond the Chinese continent, as well as in Japan where the consulate general of the People’s Republic of China in Osaka and the Yokohama branch of the Bank of China received a threatening memo and an attack by air rifles, respectively. Some are worried that if this continues, it will cause a bigger conflict between the two countries. We request the two governments and their people to control themselves. If a root of Northeast Asia’s peace is disturbed due to an emotional confrontation, nobody will benefit from the circumstances.

To begin with, the Japanese government has to earnestly reflect and apologize on its past wrongdoings. Although the Japanese government has said, “Until when should we apologize?”, given the distortion of its history textbooks and the continued visits to the Yasukuni shrine, concerned countries have shared the view that Japan is a far cry from a self-reflection. A reason why a total of 116 U.N. members have opposed Japan as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council is that the Japanese government has tried to become a militarily powerful country on the basis of the U.S.-Japan alliance, rather than to reinvent itself as a sincere member of Asia through self-reflection.

Therefore, not only Japan but also China must control itself. If a relationship between the two powerful countries of the Northeast Asian region heads for a showdown, and not mutual coexistence, it will be hard to expect peace and common prosperity in the region. Considering the fact that by making the European Union (EU) as it is, Europe has rid itself of the fear of war. If only the Northeast Asian region aims for a new confrontation system, it will be nothing more than the retrogression of history.

The U.S.’ role is important as well. As a traditional balancing force, it should be a well-intended mediator between China and Japan. If the current maintenance system of Northeast Asia is agitated due to the conflict between China and Japan, it will be difficult for the U.S. to circumvent danger. Also, given the details of the circumstances, this conflict has something to do with the U.S.’ strategy on the issue of Taiwan in which the U.S. has adopted a peaceful resolution over the matter concerning Taiwan as a “common strategy” by bringing Japan over to its camp.

South Korea’s stance has been more delicate. Though President Roh Moo-hyun said that the government would act as a “balancer of Northeast Asia,” it seems that it will be hard to actively intervene as a peacemaker in reality. Only if considering just Japan’s past wrongdoings, the Korean government can cooperate with China. However international and economical interests are entangled in the relationship with Japan and U.S, making it impossible to explain merely by Japan’s past history. We need wisdom to cope with the matters on the basis of our reasons rather than our emotions, and national interests rather than causes.