Plunge Pontificates

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Singapore joins the list...

As I've stated plently of times, despite what Koizumi says and wants others to believe, it isn't just China and Korea upset at his visits to Yasukuni. It is an issue that will have to be addressed and is not a private issue like he tries to say either.

Now we have Singapore weighing in.

Singaporean Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said Monday Asian countries cannot support Japan on the issue of the war-related Yasukuni Shrine, urging Tokyo to compromise with Beijing to improve their strained relations.

He proposed what he called a "grand bargain," by which Japanese leaders should stop visiting the Shinto shrine, which honors convicted Japanese war criminals including wartime premier Gen. Hideki Tojo along with the war dead.

China, for its part, should cease harping on about history, including World War II, he said.

"The fact is that on this issue, Japan is diplomatically isolated," Goh said in a speech at an Asia-Pacific forum that began Monday in Singapore.

"The rest of Asia and, in extremis, even America, cannot be with Japan on this issue," Goh said, adding that the way forward is for China and Japan to strike a "grand bargain."

"Japanese leaders should give up visits to the Yasukuni Shrine and find some other way to honor the war dead without appearing to endorse the political message of the Yasukuni Shrine," Goh said.

"China must reciprocate in a positive manner, set aside the history issue once and for all, and move forward," he said. (bold added)

What do I think of his grand bargain? I love it. Do I see it happening? No way in hell. China would want far more than just an end to Yasukuni visits, we all know this. Still, I love to see Singapore weighing and acknowledging just how deep feelings run about the visits to Yasukuni. If the visits stopped, it would certainly put China and Korea on the spot and might even lead to a final resolution of historical differences, at least politically.

Ah, we can dream, can't we?