Japan, China, S. Korea must work together to halt North’s provocations

23-Aug-2019 Intellasia | JapanNews | 6:02 AM Print This Post

To make North Korea abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile development programmes, it is imperative to ensure cooperation among Japan, China and South Korea along with the United States. The Tokyo-Seoul confrontation should not serve as an obstacle to this.

Foreign minister Taro Kono and his Chinese and South Korean counterparts, Wang Yi and Kang Kyung-wha, have confirmed close cooperation in carrying out policies vis-a-vis North Korea during their talks held in a Beijing suburb. They have also agreed to promote free trade and expand exchanges between people.

The foreign ministers of the three Asian countries met for the first time in three years. This latest meeting was aimed at laying the foundation for tripartite summit talks scheduled for later this year.

Kono told a joint news conference that Japan “will steadfastly promote Japan-China-South Korea cooperation, although there are times when bilateral relationships face difficulties.” Kono most likely had in mind the Tokyo-Seoul relationship, which has been deteriorating.

The biggest matter of concern for East Asia is the North Korean affair. The short-range missiles test-fired in succession by North Korea since July are considered by some experts to be a new type with the capability of evading interception. Concern cannot be dispelled that the North has been enhancing the degree of completion by proceeding with performance tests.

US President Donald Trump does not regard the short-range missile firings as problematic. It is essential that the countries concerned, including the United States, call for Pyongyang to exercise self-restraint.

The foreign ministers of the three Asian neighbours have confirmed that they will fully carry out sanctions resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council with a view to realising denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

Bilateral issues pending

Ship-to-ship smuggling of goods such as refined petroleum products an act that North Korea has committed on the high seas has allegedly been confirmed in Chinese coastal waters recently, which are far away from the Korean Peninsula. China, suspected of being involved in the smuggling, must close any loopholes in the sanctions.

In their meeting, Kono and Kang discussed the problems over lawsuits involving South Korean former wartime requisitioned workers but the talks ended without any agreement. Kono told reporters that the two countries will continue to communicate with each other through their diplomatic authorities.

It is obvious that the South Korean Supreme Court’s decision ordering a Japanese firm to pay compensation for the former wartime requisitioned workers violates the Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims and on Economic Cooperation. As long as the administration of South Korean President Moon Jae-in does not take adequate steps, Seoul will not be able to regain a relationship of trust with Tokyo.

Kono and Kang also discussed the general Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) under which Tokyo and Seoul share information on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes. South Korea has hinted at the possibility of scrapping the agreement. Seoul should not use the crucial security accord for wheeling and dealing.

In their meeting, Kono and Wang confirmed a policy of accelerating arrangements for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Japan set for next spring.

Although Japan-China relations are following a path of improvement, China has been unilaterally developing natural gas fields in the East China Sea. The bilateral row over the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture has also continued. Beijing needs to comply with requests for holding consultative talks to discuss concrete measures to ease tensions.



Category: Japan

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