No Money Backing the Stakes in the Koreas

:

Using foreigners as political foils resonates politically in the Koreas, where no one really takes the expressions to task. Case in point: ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myunghwan’s “Dear Leader-ing threat to South Korean dissenters. I agree with Yuna, that Minister Yu should keep his job. But, he needs to apologize and refrain from associating dissent with treason.

But, in the Koreas, it’s the leftists who are the real xenophobes.

The JSDF [Japanese Self-Defense Forces] observation will take place in the midst of China’s sensitive response to the joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises in the East Sea. Japan’s role is likely to add to existing tensions on the Korean Peninsula if China and North Korea issue unfavorable responses.

Using foreigners as political foils resonates politically in the Koreas, where no one really takes the expressions to task. Case in point: ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myunghwan’s “Dear Leader-ing threat to South Korean dissenters. I agree with Yuna, that Minister Yu should keep his job. But, he needs to apologize and refrain from associating dissent with treason.

But, in the Koreas, it’s the leftists who are the real xenophobes.

The JSDF [Japanese Self-Defense Forces] observation will take place in the midst of China’s sensitive response to the joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises in the East Sea. Japan’s role is likely to add to existing tensions on the Korean Peninsula if China and North Korea issue unfavorable responses.

Moreover, since this year marks the 100th anniversary of Japan’s annexation of Korea, the JSDF observance of the exercise may cause controversy in South Korea.

A Defense Ministry official said in response, “The Republic of Korea Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self-defense Force have been staging joint South Korea-Japan humanitarian search-and-rescue exercises since 1999.” The official also said, “In addition, the both countries’ navies are also participating in the Rim of the Pacific joint military exercises in adjacent seas near Hawaii.”

Four officials? Really? That’s enough to cause an international incident?

This antagonistic framework, with South Korea, the United States and Japan on one side and North Korea, China, and Russia on the other, is not only of no help in resolving the Cheonan issue, but is certain to aggravate the political situation in Northeast Asia. When these joint military exercises, which are set to continue in the future, combine with new economic sanctions against North Korea from the United States, North Korea is likely to feel the need to respond forcefully. There is also a strong likelihood that China will see a growing threat to its people and take action. South Korea stands to suffer the most if tensions heighten in this manner. And at the same time, we will find our right to be heard on issues pertaining to the Korean Peninsula withering away.

It is a grave error for the Lee Myung-bak administration to present the appearance that it is taking the lead in forming a Cold War-style framework of antagonism. If it really wants to resolve the Cheonan issue, it must refrain from taking direct aggressive action against North Korea, and instead pursue an additional, thorough investigation. More importantly, the six-party talks must quickly resume so that denuclearization efforts can get back on track.

In the other wing of the Korean political nuthouse, the conservatives have been smelling their own armpits again – no mention of the four Japanese observers.

If the government does not strengthen its leadership in terms of national security, North Korea could once again get the wrong impression and threaten the South. President Lee Myung-bak as well as ruling and opposition lawmakers must issue a united warning to North Korea against any aggression. This is a time for them to stand shoulder to shoulder. The worst mistake politicians can make is to expose the public to danger.

Such extreme and contradictory rhetoric is par for the course in the Koreas, both ends and both sides of the political spectrum. Every event is a tipping-point. It’s an endless series of poker games in a very empty casino.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Filed under: East Asia, Korea, Military, USA Tagged: china, dprk, invincible spirit, japan, prc, rok, uss george washington, war gaming, yu myunghwan



Leave a Comment