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Korea must show diplomatic power to induce Japan’s self-reflection

Korea must show diplomatic power to induce Japan’s self-reflection

Posted March. 21, 2015 07:16,   


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will become the first Japanese Prime Minister to address at a joint session of the U.S. Congress in April. This means, the PM of a war criminal nation will deliver a speech on the U.S.-Japan relations after 70 years from the end of World War II in the very venue where then-U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt announced a war against Japan on Dec. 8 in 1941 on the very next day of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. This news came as a shock to the Korean diplomacy. The Japanese Prime Minister’s address at the U.S. Parliament conveys symbolic significance that the U.S. will put an end to issues over the matter of history with Japan and embrace Tokyo as the best ally. The U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP) negotiations will come to an end with Abe’s address. The door for Korea to join the TPP may shut tight.

The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly explained that failing to stop Abe’s address at the U.S. Congress is not failure of diplomacy toward the U.S. “The Japanese government must show genuine self-reflection over the wartime atrocities as it has proclaimed to do so,” the ministry said. However, AFP predicted the address will be at the level of “expressing humility over evils and horrors of Japan’s history” as the Japanese PM did in the Australian Parliament. If so, the address may strain not only Korea-Japan but also China-Japan relations. It will inevitably make a negative impact to Korea-U.S. and U.S.-China relations.

The Korean foreign ministry’s diplomacy team led by the Minister Yoon Byeong-se, which have boasted close ties with the U.S., saying, “The Korea-U.S. ties are so tight, not allowing any slit that even light can pass through,” must prove such a comment is not a mere bragging. The Korean government must decidedly demand that the U.S. government and the parliament should not allow Abe to deny Japan’s past wrongdoings and Abe’s address at the U.S. Congress must not work as indulgence. In 2007, the U.S. Congress unanimously adopted a resolution to urge Japan to recognize and apology over its responsibility to forcibly conscript sex slaves for the Japanese military camps during the World War II. The Korean government must let American lawmakers know that Abe’s speech, if without thorough self-reflection, will only ignore the U.S. Parliament.

President Park Geun-hey will meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Mar. 20, who is visiting Korea to attend the Korea-China-Japan diplomatic ministerial meeting. President Park needs to give Minister Kishida an advice to utilize Abe’s address at the U.S. Parliament as an opportunity to untie the knot that Japan itself tied and to normalize strained ties among the Korea, U.S. and Japan. During the period of rapidly changing dynamics in the Northeast Asia, all eyes of the Korean citizens are on whether the government is capable of ‘proactive diplomacy’ that induces Japan to have a thorough introspect over the past wrongdoings.