EDITORIAL | As popularity wanes, South Korea’s Moon steps up anti-Japanese posture


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South Korean Police Chief Commissioner General Kim Chang Yong landed in Takeshima (Okinoshima City, Shimane Prefecture) on November 16, despite prior requests from the Japanese government not to do so.

Armed police officers trained by the South Korean army are currently occupying Takeshima. Kim’s visit to the islands is the first by a national police chief since 2009. He is said to have inspected the security situation there, in addition to encouraging officers.

It is only natural that the Japanese government immediately criticized the visit via the Tokyo-Seoul diplomatic channel to the South Korean government. Takeshima is a Japanese territory. The South Korean occupation and Kim’s visit are totally unacceptable.

A source close to the South Korean police agency called the visit “diplomatic meaningless.” However, was the visit not provocative towards Japan? Would the same source simply claim that “Takeshima is South Korean territory” so that Japan is not responsible for it?

IIn this photo provided by the South Korean Navy, members of the South Korean Navy’s special forces are conducting two-day exercises in 2019 on Takeshima. (South Korean Navy via AP)

Surely the Moon Jae In administration must know that improving relations between the two nations is inconceivable unless South Korea changes its anti-Japanese stance.

On this particular occasion, the Japanese government said words to this effect to South Korea, which represents a new approach.

On November 17, Japan, the United States and South Korea participated in a trilateral meeting in Washington, DC, to discuss the issue of North Korean nuclear weapons and missiles. However, the Japanese representative, Deputy Foreign Minister Takeo Mori, withdrew from the press conference that followed due to Kim’s visit to Takeshima.

In addition, Mori told his South Korean counterpart that relations between the two countries are “extremely strained”, given the wartime labor and comfort issues, in addition to Takeshima’s situation. He also called on the South Korean government to take appropriate action. Mori did the right thing.

President Moon’s term will end in May 2022. As a rule, as a South Korean leader’s popularity declines near the end of his term, he tends to become more anti-Japanese. Moon also fell into this nasty habit.

Takeshima is part of Japan both historically and under international law. The Japanese had been fishing there since the beginning of the 17th century, if not earlier. In 1905, it became part of Shimane Prefecture following a Cabinet resolution – a decision that neither South Korea nor any other country protested.

International navigation charts show Takeshima in Japanese territory for hundreds of years.

In January 1952, during the Allied occupation of Japan, then South Korean President Syngman Rhee unilaterally drew a line in the Sea of ​​Japan and then captured Takeshima. Japanese patrol boats were targeted by South Korean security forces who were illegally occupying the islands.

In a recent letter to Fumio Kishida following his selection as prime minister, Moon called for cooperation between the two countries. However, this letter seems somewhat hypocritical, given the South Korean police chief’s visit to Takeshima soon after.

Japan, South Korea and the United States must work together against the threat from North Korea. South Korea must stop its anti-Japanese behavior.

Takeshima is part of Shimane Prefecture, Senkaku is part of Okinawa Prefecture, Japan

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(Read it Sankei Shimbun editorial in Japanese on this link.)

Author: editorial board, The Sankei Shimbun

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