Plunge Pontificates

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Tensions Rise Between Tokyo and Seoul

Excellent editorial on the current, rising tensions over the Dokdo situation.

Japan's plan to survey waterways within Korea's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is, in short, a naked and calculated provocation. Tokyo's move presupposes the rocky islets between the two countries, called Dokdo (Tokdo) here and Takeshima in Japan, as its territory despite Seoul's long effective control on them. The Japanese government even went as far as to directly notify the International Hydrographic Organization of its plan, without revealing the information to Seoul. Tokyo's diplomatic impudence seems to know no end.
Basically, knowing that it has lost full control over the situation, Tokyo is trying a backdoor approach. Sneaky and underhanded, but that fits Koizumi to a tee.

It wasn't this bad until about a year ago. When a Japanese prefecture renewed claims over the desolate islets by designating a "Takeshima Day" in March 2005, some right-wing politicians applauded the move, but the Japanese government said it was merely a provincial decision. Last month, however, Tokyo instructed 55 high school textbooks to clearly label the disputed island chain as Japanese territory. Whether this gradualism is a tactic or a reflection of slowly escalating nationalism, it is equally displeasing.
I think it is plain to see that it is the ever growing nationalism that is taking over Japan. It will only get worse.

Tokyo has always tried to make this a territorial dispute and take it to the International Court of Justice. Seoul has rightly snubbed the approach, as seen again on Friday in its omission of comment on the islets. Internally, however, the government needs to develop logic to refute Japanese claims in global stages. It could also pinpoint Tokyo's two-faced diplomacy, which claims sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands, citing Japan's effective control and criticizing China's survey nearby its southernmost islet.
Amen on that. Doesn't matter the tactics or ethics, as long as Tokyo gets what Tokyo wants.

What kills me is Tokyo has decided to take on everyone at once. It goes after Korea while fighting China while fighting Russia and on and on.