Monday, October 28, 2013

Korea Cannot Let Japan Deploy Troops Abroad

I think Korea could be making a strategic error.  I fully understand all the historical animosity but the fact is that Japan is a sovereign nation and neither Korea nor the U.S. can prevent it from deploying troops or participating in collective self-defense any more than Japan can prevent Korea from doing so.

This is the time for cooler diplomatic heads to prevail in Korea. I think that contrary to the conclusion in the article Korea will have a better chance of boosting its geopolitical role by thinking and acting realistically and making decisions based on real interests. Yes history is important and we understand that suspicion lingers but policy cannot always be made based on that and even less on emotion (domestic politics notwithstanding).  And I think there is one thing that the Koreans should remember and that is that in the case of the Korean peninsula the international community 9and the US) is likely to have learned from history and will not allow a repeat of Taft Katsura in 1905 and the annexation of Korea in 1910 by Japan.  Putting the US in the middle between Korea and Japan and then asking the US to choose between the two is not a wise diplomatic move for either Korea or Japan (and certainly not for the US).

Korea Cannot Let Japan Deploy Troops Abroad

A high-ranking government official has asked U.S. officials to "reflect" Korea's sovereignty over the entire Korean Peninsula before endorsing Japan's right to engage the country's strictly defensive military in operations abroad. 

This is the first time that Korea has directly put its position to the U.S. about the issue of Japan's attempts to legitimize so-called "collective self-defense," which would allow Japanese troops to fight abroad if an ally is in some way under threat. This could lead to Japanese troops being deployed to the Korean Peninsula in support of the U.S. Forces Korea in the event of an emergency here.

Koreans have a deep-seated suspicion of Japan's military since the brutal occupation of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 until the end of World War II.
Although the UN Charter gives governments the right to collective self-defense, Japan voluntarily relinquished it due to its pacifist postwar constitution. But now the hard-right Abe administration is trying to amend the constitution to assert it again, Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. have endorsed the move in order to keep China's rising military power in check.
That is why Seoul wants to make sure that Japanese soldiers are never again allowed to land on Korean soil, whatever the circumstances. In order to make sure it does not happen, Seoul must strike a cast-iron agreement with the U.S. while strengthening its own defenses.
Japan's attempts at rearmament will have a major impact on Northeast Asian security. An arms race between China and Japan will create clouds of a new Cold War in the region, and U.S.-Japan relations could take precedence over U.S.-Korea ties. South Korea would then find itself in a dilemma because it is dependent on the U.S. for its security and on China for business.

The rightwingers now in charge in Japan are also aggressively pushing the country’s flimsy colonial claim to Korea's Dokdo islets. In every aspect, Japan's moves to assert the right to collective self-defense involve Korea.
(Continued at the link below)



1 comment:

  1. The South Koreans have done nothing over the past decades as north Korea developed from a peninsula threat to a regional menance, and in fact, in many ways, funded it. In the past, the threat to the regional emanated from Japan but now it stems from the Korean peninsula and the Japanese have a right to defend themselves. If the South Koreans would hadn't abetted north Korea then the Japanese would have a lot less reason to pursue this course...

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