Plunge Pontificates

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Korea Determined to Stop Japan

First you have the situation between Japan and China and now this one between Japan and South Korea. The tension levels are escalating at an alarming rate.

Cabinet ministers on Monday agreed to strengthen the nation's countermoves against Japan's plan to conduct a maritime survey in the South Korean exclusive economic zone (EEZ) near Dokdo, saying that the current situation is ``more serious'' than ever.

...

Tokyo is expected to dispatch survey ships to the South Korean economic waters this week. Claiming that the survey area falls within its EEZ, Tokyo notified the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) of its plan to carry out the survey from April 14 to June 30 in waters in the East Sea.


Note, they did NOT inform Korea of their proposed actions. That was sure to infuriate Seoul and cause an incident based on that alone. That doesn't include them actually following through with the survey mind you.

The government also plans to keep strict guard over Dokdo and nearby waters to fend off the Japanese survey ship's trespass on the South Korean EEZ.

Seoul says Japan's proposed survey area includes a part of the South Korean economic waters, making it mandatory for Tokyo, under a U.N. maritime law, to seek Seoul's permission first to carry out a survey there.

A domestic maritime survey law also allows law-enforcement authorities to take action, including stoppage and seizure, against foreign vessels' unauthorized survey within the South Korean economic waters.

In reaction to Seoul's stance, a ranking Japanese official told Yonhap News Agency in Japan that Tokyo will ``likely'' notify Seoul of its survey plan before sending its vessels to the South Korean EEZ.

The Japanese official also warned that seizure by South Korea of a Japanese government ship is a ``grave'' violation of international law. He argued that stoppage and inspection of the government vessel is also illegal.
Again, at this point there is no way Korea is going to back down, it will be interesting to see if Japan does. Given the far more grave situation it has with China, I could see them saving this battle for a later day.