Wednesday, August 27, 2014
AUG 19 History Impedes Future Progress in Northeast Asia
History Impedes Future Progress in Northeast Asia
Japan's view of history still rankles
Updated: 2014-08-20 11:23
By Chen Weihua in Washington(China Daily USA)
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Japan's view of history still rankles
South Korean Ambassador to the United States Ahn Ho-Young (right) speaks at a seminar on the future of Northeast Asia on Tuesday at the Heritage Foundation. At left is Dennis Blair, former commander of the US Pacific Command. Chen Weihua / China Daily
Just moments after Dennis Blair, former commander of the US Pacific Command and former director US National Intelligence, expressed his puzzlement over why China and South Korea would still have historical issues with Japan, he got a quick explanation.
One Japanese journalist rose from the back of the audience, saying that Japanese studies show that the Japanese military had not systematically recruited and coerced comfort women during the WWII.
An American woman sitting in the front clearly could not let the comment pass. "That's not true!" she shouted.
The setting was a seminar exploring the future of progress in Northeast Asia held on Tuesday at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington on Tuesday.
Ahn Ho-Young, South Korea's ambassador to the US and a former vice minister of foreign affairs, also pushed back, citing studies that show convincing evidence of coercion involving the comfort women issue. He cited the 1993 Kono Statement by Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono which concluded that the Japanese Imperial Army had forced comfort women to work in military-run brothels during WWII.
"That's why we in Korea keep saying that denial is not helpful," he said, repeating a long-standing view also expressed by South Korea President Park Geun-hye.
"True courage lies not in denying the past but in looking squarely at history as it was and teaching the growing generation the correct history," Park said back in March when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other right-wing Japanese politicians wanted to re-examine the Kono Statement.
Ahn, a career diplomat of 36 years, refuted the notion that somehow Japan had taken responsibility for the war crimes and it was South Korea which has not accepted it. The same argument was also heard in the US and some other countries regarding China, as if it were China and South Korea who are obsessed with history, without Japanese provocation.
Ahn blasted a former senior Japanese official who wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post recently arguing that South Korea's growing ties with China will undermine its relationship with the United States.
"I am very disappointed," said Ahn, unhappy about the op-ed's attempt to sow discord between South Korea's relations with China and the US.
Japan's view of history still rankles
While expressing his optimism over the future of the South Korean-Japanese relationship, Ahn blamed the ups and downs in the bilateral relationship on Japanese politicians' recidivism not to recognize the past and take responsibility for what had happened.
Ahn clearly did not see eye to eye with Blair when the latter tried to downplay Japanese politicians paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine, where 14 Class A Japanese war criminals from WWII are honored.
South Korean President Park expressed her disappointment right after Abe sent a ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine on Aug 15, the day Japan surrendered in WWII.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying also blasted Abe by saying that "their acts once again demonstrated the Japanese government's wrongful attitude towards historical issues".
"China is firmly opposed to that," she said.
Hua described the core of all issues surrounding the Yasukuni Shrine as whether the Japanese government can adopt a correct understanding of and attitude towards its history of aggression, whether it can respect the feelings of the people in the victimized Asian countries and whether it can honor the positions and commitments it has made so far on historical issues.
"Only when Japan honestly faces up to and deeply reflects upon its past of aggression, and truly makes a clean break with militarism, can the China-Japan relationship have the chance to realize a sound and stable development," she said.
The US has long been troubled by the fact that its two main Asian allies - Japan and South Korea - would not come together on security issues, thereby decimating the so-called US-Japan-South Korea trilateral security.
While many believe such trilateral security is aimed at China, Blair said it is not in the US interest to try to make Japan and South Korea into an anti-China coalition, a statement that surprised quite few given his critical rhetoric on China throughout the seminar.
ScottinBeijing 2014-8-21 02:47 Post
Dennis Blair sounds a bit ignorant.
Even I, non Chinese, non Korean, deeply resent the Japanese attitude that WWII was everybody else's fault.
and they still grump about Hiroshima, which probably saved more Japanese lives in the long run that anything else that happened in the last 100 years. Yes, yes, it killed a lot too, but not as many as the fire bombings in Germany (Hamburg?) and Tokyo. And CERTAINLY not as many as an invasion would have.
objective 2014-8-21 05:44 Post
the Japs think if America believes Santa Claus, it can spin any fairy tale and make America accept it as reality.
Abe is the most creative fairy tale writer as he can make a devil into an angel and the victims into devils.
Abe is living in an altered universe where truth and lies exchange places.
objective 2014-8-21 05:49 Post
China and Korea must carefully preserve and safeguard all the solid evidences of Japs devil acts.
A lot of Japs' own government documents prove Japs atrocities.
Abe is low enough to destroy his own government's historical documents.
Korea and China and other nations have to keep the evidences of Japs stupendous crimes against humanity, specially women, intact.
chinaright 2014-8-21 07:59 Post
Will Mr. Blair please answer this question.
What would be the reaction of the world if Germany enshrines Hitler and his cohorts in a cathedral and go to pay homage to them?
Would you be sitting there calmly and say: that is no big deal"?
chinaright 2014-8-21 08:05 Post
Japan's war criminals worship is not just adding insult to the injury of its victims but also is a deny of the judgment of international court.
The 14 hung Jap criminals were judged to be the most vicious mass murderers and rapists who should be forgotten in a footnote of history.
Yet Japs enshrined them like they were heroes and saints which totally negate the judgment of international court.
Japs' shrines visits are lawless in addition to being inhumane and sadistic.
chinaright 2014-8-21 08:13 Post
Scott you are right.
American nukes have spared nearly 2 million Jap lives and 1 million lives of allied and American soldiers.
If America did not nuke Japs and launched landed invasion instead, the fanatic Japs would have fought to death as they were training women and children to fight with sharpened bamboo spikes in anticipation of America landed invasion.
2 nukes killed 200, 000 which was just 10% of the Japs would be killed in a landed invasion.
Instead of thanking America for saving their skin, they never stop carping and condemning America for dropping the nukes.
gooddog 2014-8-22 13:40 Post
Japanese believe they are the superior human...Ignorant American believe they are the chosen ones. It's like picking your own poison when dealing with them.
South Korea Needs Trustpolitik…with Japan
Bruce Klingner / March 21, 2014 / Leave a comment 25 7
Just when relations between South Korea and Japan appeared unalterably on the road to perdition, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proffered an off-ramp.
Abe defied predictions by affirming rather than rejecting Japan’s previous apologies for its wartime atrocities. His stunning reversal provides an unforeseen opportunity to repair relations between America’s key allies prior to President Obama’s Asia trip next month.
The U.S. has long eschewed assuming a mediator role, given the dangers of being perceived as taking sides on issues that inflame fervent emotions in both South Korea and Japan. But without U.S. shuttle diplomacy, Japan and South Korea will remain fixated on the past, undermining U.S. security objectives in Asia even as the North Korean and Chinese threats increase.
Abe’s bold gesture, due in part to behind-the-scenes stern messages from Washington, is a small yet monumental first step that must be repeatedly affirmed and built upon. But further Japanese actions require reciprocal gestures from South Korea. It is far from certain, however, that President Park Geun-hye is willing to exercise the requisite leadership by defying her country’s fervent nationalism.
Abe had long signaled resistance to postwar descriptions of Tokyo’s war guilt and expressed intent to revise if not repudiate official Japanese apologies. Those earlier provocative comments, along with a December 2013 visit as prime minister to the controversial Yasakuni Shrine, aggravated already frayed Japanese–South Korean ties.
That makes Abe’s recent pledge to affirm the apologies all the more striking and important. For the first time, he declared his administration would uphold the Murayama statement recognizing Japan’s wartime actions. He also declared he had no intention to review the Kono Statement, which acknowledges Japan’s role in procuring “comfort women” (sexual slaves) for the imperial Japanese military.
Knowing the latter issue is of utmost importance to South Korea, Abe provided an additional gesture by commenting, “I am deeply pained to think of the comfort women who experienced immeasurable pain and suffering, a feeling I share equally with my predecessors.”
South Korea responded positively, though cautiously, to Abe’s reversal. President Park had previously defined Abe affirming the official apologies as a prerequisite for a summit with Japan. But Park and other Korean officials now demand additional undefined steps to display Japanese “sincerity.”
Tokyo feels it has shown sufficient contrition for its wartime past, citing a long list of apologies and the passage of time. Japanese media expressed outrage at the U.S. government’s mild public rebuke of “disappointment” after Abe’s trip to Yasukuni. Yet the reality was that Washington was privately seething at Abe’s action. Washington’s ire was exacerbated by public Japanese ruminations questioning the reliability of the U.S. defense of Japan.
Across the Sea of Japan—or the East Sea, as Korean activists would have U.S. textbooks define it—the Park administration has also disappointed Washington by allowing the ghosts of the past to haunt present-day policymaking. South Korean polls show that the public and policymakers are more worried about the hypothetical resurrection of 1930s Japanese militarism than the very real North Korean threat of today.
The depth of South Korean resentment toward Tokyo is embodied in the controversy over South Korea’s military accepting 10,000 bullets from Japan. South Korean peacekeeping forces in Sudan faced imminent threat and called for more ammunition. The only other United Nations force with the same caliber bullets was Japan, which provided the requested assistance.
Yet the ensuing public uproar in South Korea forced the return of the bullets. Apparently South Korea would rather see its own troops placed at risk than show the slightest sign of reconciliation with Japan.
Similarly, South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se used a U.N. human rights conference to lambaste Japan over its wartime actions rather than focusing on the recent U.N. report detailing North Korean crimes against humanity. Yun also advocated forging a military intelligence-sharing agreement with China—which rejects international accusation of North Korean human rights abuses—before finalizing a similar agreement with fellow democracy Japan.
South Korea is more willing to pursue President Park’s trustpolitik policy of mutual trust-building efforts with Pyongyang—which killed 50 South Koreans in 2010 and continues to threaten South Korea with nuclear annihilation—while refusing to engage with Tokyo.
The U.S. should urge Seoul to compartmentalize and prioritize its foreign policy. A myopic focus on history detracts from efforts to address rising security threats to allied national interests. South Korea’s grudging acceptance of a trilateral summit with Obama and Abe on the fringes of the multilateral nuclear summit next week is a proper response, but more needs to be done.
For its part, Tokyo should continue a reconciliation process with Seoul. Abe should repeat his unequivocal affirmation of the official apologies, propose a mutually agreed upon mechanism for compensating surviving women forced into sexual slavery during World War II, and pledge not to visit Yasukuni again.
Failure by Japan and South Korea to use Abe’s gesture as a catalyst to begin a reconciliation process will leave both countries forever hostages to history rather than addressing today’s realities.
25 7 Portrait of Bruce Klingner
Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center, spent 20 years in the intelligence community working at the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency. Read his research
Senior Research Fellow, Northeast Asia
Asian Studies Center
The Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation
Bruce Klingner is the Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center.
Bruce Klingner is the senior research fellow for Northeast Asia in The Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center. Klingner’s analysis and writing about North Korea, South Korea, Japan and related issues are informed by his 20 years working at the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
From 1996 to 2001, Klingner was CIA’s deputy division chief for Korea, responsible for the analysis of political, military, economic and leadership issues for the president of the United States and other senior U.S. policymakers. In 1993-1994, he was the chief of CIA's Korea branch, which analyzed military developments during a nuclear crisis with North Korea.
Klingner, who joined Heritage in 2007, has testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
He is a frequent commentator in U.S. and foreign media, including television news programs for ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, Bloomberg and C-Span. His articles and commentary have appeared in major American publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek and Fortune, as well as in overseas outlets such as The Financial Times, Chosun Ilbo, Joongang Ilbo, Kyodo News and Nikkei Weekly.
Klingner is a distinguished graduate of the National War College, where he received a master's degree in national security strategy in 2002. He also holds a master's degree in strategic intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College and a bachelor's degree in political science from Middlebury College in Vermont.
He is active in Korean martial arts, attaining third-degree black belt in taekwondo and first-degree black belt in hapkido and teuk kong moo sool.
2014.08.27（水） 古森 義久