Recent months have seen several diplomatic incidents between the Japanese and South Korean governments, most notably the territorial dispute over the Liancourt Rocks and a South Korean professor’s campaigns to increase awareness of the comfort women issue in Japanese universities, both of which were reported on japanCRUSH.
However, despite rising tensions between the two nations, South Korean presidential hopefuls have all pledged to use the change in administration to improve relations with Japan, which many consider to have cooled somewhat during Lee Myung-bak’s presidency.
With the South Korean presidential elections set to take place on 18 December, the article below discusses how key candidates intend to approach Japan-Korea relations. Netizen reactions to the news are also translated below.
Korean Presidential Election: Opportunity to ‘Reset’ Relations with Japan, Improvement of Relations is an Important Point for Each Candidate
In the Korean Presidential Election this December, each candidate has started to look for ways of improving relations with Japan. Although they will not compromise on issues of history and territoriality, they have demonstrated their intentions to use the inauguration of a new administration as a catalyst to ‘reset’ relations with Japan that have cooled under the Lee Myung-bak administration, with candidates emphasising ‘co-operation’ rather than ‘pursuit of Japan’.
Regarding the worsening of Japanese-Korean relations over Takeshima in Shimane Prefecture (or Dokdo as it is known in Korean), on November 12, Moon Jae-in of the largest opposition party, the Democratic United Party, who held a conference at the Seoul foreign correspondents’ club, indicated that ‘both countries should consider it a good lesson’. Even in relation to historical issues, he said that while, ‘we have very definite intentions,’ he stated that ‘it is necessary that leaders from both countries put in a special effort so that this does not become an obstacle to the development of Japan-Korea relations.’ He gave the impression that these matters would be dealt with in a calm and controlled manner, so as not to further strain relations in general.
Aside from regularization of shuttle diplomacy between leaders and cabinet discussions, independent candidate Ahn Cheol-soo’s camp touted the creation of a new vision of co-operation between Japan and Korea in time for 2015, which will commemorate fifty years of normalized relations between the two nations.
On November 8, Park Geun-hye of the ruling Senuri party tended to emphasise the position that there would be no compromise, stating that ‘negotiation is not the target’ regarding the Takeshima issue. She also expressed the intention to reopen the Japan-Korea Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), saying ‘Furthermore, this is a time when economic co-operation is more important than ever before.’
Of course, at the heart of each candidate’s foreign policy is a response to the ‘Era of the two superpowers America and China’. An insider from one of the camps explained: ‘The dilemma is that though they can’t agree with the Lee Myung-bak administration’s foreign policy toward Japan, equally they can’t just take the Japanese perspective.’ Moon Jae-in did not touch on foreign relations with Japan in the keynote speech at the beginning of the press conference, and one has to admit that even though Japan is central to all the candidates’ foreign policies, the presence of Japan itself is growing weaker.
Comments from 2ch.net 1 and 2:
Should have been reset each time the Korean president changed anyway.
Insofar as Japan won’t change, neither will Korea.
I’ll support the candidate who breaks off diplomatic relations
I want to break off diplomatic relations
It’s no use anymore, don’t look to us! Just die, shitty gooks…these are the true feelings of the Japanese.
Yup, it’s a massive lie. They’ll persist with the military comfort women and Takeshima just like they always do.
If Japan abandons its designs on Dokdo, we can become friends-imnida [The netizen adds the Korean verbal suffix ‘imnida’ to their comment; this would be something like putting on a Korean accent]
The Japanese will be fooled by Koreans no more.
Koreans do nothing but lie.
Those bastards’ lies are so blatant.
We have no friendship with Korea.
Korea only says it’s good when Korea can make something from it.
The Japanese have been easily fooled by lawless Koreans.
Don’t get duped by those bastards.
Give it a rest.
This was an opportunity to make the rift grow deeper, after all.
It’s ok to strengthen your anti-Japan stance.
It’s worse when you pretend to be our friends, but when it comes down to it you’re anti-Japan.
Just do it properly and be anti-Japanese. And don’t bother us.
Let’s take this chance to re-think relations with Asia. Let’s verify which nations are pro-Japan, and make them known to the Japanese people. Let’s show them a Japan and a Japanese people who stand firm.
So break off (reset) diplomatic relations, and let’s quickly send back (reset) all the Koreans resident in Japan home to Korea.
The media is still mentioning improving relations and covering this kind of thing. The media is complicit in the fraud.
Reasons why the Korean side want to reset:
・ Because their lies about the comfort women have been exposed.
・ Because the truth has come out that virtually all Zainichi Koreans entered Japan illegally, and that the Japanese tried to deport them but the Korean government refused.
・ Because it looks like they’re going to get sued over Takeshima.
・ Because they’re being pressed by the Chinese for reimbursement but have no money to reimburse the Chinese with.
・ It’s all over if trade with Japan dwindles.
Let’s just make friends with Vietnam! Korea, just don’t come near us. We’re done with you. Your lies won’t cut it any more either. Please make a law to do away with legal aliases.
Happens all the time.
When your PC freezes, and you can’t do a damned thing, the first thing you do is reset. But the thing is, the data’s not going to be erased, it’s going to remain.
So have it your way and reset things wwww
What’s in it for Japan if we ‘co-operate’ with Korea? Tell me specifically where we’d profit. You can’t call Japan’s one-directional ‘aid’ to Korea ‘co-operation’.
I guess they should just reset the nation of Korea itself. Because it’s an unwanted country.
Let the Korean president get down on his or her knees and apologise to us first. Then we’ll talk.
It’s always like this over there when it comes to election time. What’s more, seems like their recession is the worst of all. They just want to sponge off us, that’s all.
I agree with resetting Japan-Korea relations. Japan-Korea relations after the kind of reset the Japanese are hoping for, will of course mean that diplomatic relations will be severed（＾o＾）ﾉ