Japan’s Prime Minister visits Seoul seeking deeper ties amid regional threats

Tokyo/Seoul: Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrived in Seoul yesterday to fulfill South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol amidst a sceptical public relating to the leaders’ pursuit of deeper ties within the face of nuclear threats from North Korea and China’s rising assertiveness. Kishida’s bilateral visit marks the primary by a Japanese leader to Seoul in 12 years, responding to Yoon’s trip to Tokyo in March. During that meeting, they aimed to resolve historic disputes that have dictated Japan-South Korea relations for years.
Before departing, Kishida talked about his hope for “an open discussion primarily based on a relationship of trust” with Yoon, without discussing specific topics. However, Yoon faces criticism domestically for giving more than has been received in his efforts to boost relations with Japan. Yoon proposed that South Korean businesses, rather than Japanese corporations ordered by a court docket, should compensate victims of wartime labour throughout Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial occupation. South Korean officials hope that Kishida will reciprocate with a gesture and supply political support, although few anticipate any additional formal apology for historic wrongs. Yoon himself has indicated that he does not consider that is essential.
The summit’s focus is predicted to centre on security cooperation in response to North Korea’s nuclear threats, acknowledged Shin-wha Lee, a professor of worldwide relations at Seoul-based Korea University. “Within the framework of the ‘Washington Declaration,’ which outlines plans to strengthen extended deterrence, Korea will explore methods to reinforce the collaborative efforts with Japan,” she added.
“We have lots of opportunities to cooperate when it comes to addressing the menace of North Korea” and securing a free and open Indo-Pacific, a Japanese overseas ministry official mentioned. Manageable have grown between Washington and Beijing as China turns into more assertive in its territorial claims over Taiwan and within the South China Sea, while the US strengthens alliances across the Asia-Pacific. However, historical differences between South Korea and Japan could hinder the flourishing ties between their leaders.
A majority of South Koreans believe Japan has not sufficiently apologised for the atrocities dedicated during Japan’s 1910-1945 occupation of Korea, according to Lee. “They assume that Prime Minister Kishida ought to show sincerity during his visit to South Korea, corresponding to mentioning historic issues and expressing apologies,” she added.
Conversely, Japan is continuing slowly, suggested Daniel Russel, former US assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific. “Kishida is being careful to not go sooner than his home politics permit,” he added, referring to the earlier Korean government’s unilateral abrogation of a settlement on “comfort women” as a source of Japan’s wariness.
In 2015, South Korea and Japan reached a settlement the place Tokyo issued an official apology to “comfort women” who say they have been enslaved in wartime brothels and offered 1 billion yen (US$9.23 million) to a fund to help the victims. However, then-South Korean President Moon Jae-in decided to dissolve the fund in 2018, successfully scrapping the agreement because it did not sufficiently tackle victims’ issues..

Leave a Comment