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2013年6月 3日 (月)

対「北」防衛協議 日韓関係改善の一歩にしたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun June 3, 2013
Use 3-way defense talks on N. Korea to help thaw Japan-South Korea ties
対「北」防衛協議 日韓関係改善の一歩にしたい(6月2日付・読売社説)

To respond effectively to North Korea’s military provocations, it is essential that Japan, the United States and South Korea firmly stand shoulder to shoulder. By sharing information in a wide range of fields, Tokyo, Washington and Seoul must closely coordinate their security policies to bolster the deterrent capabilities of their military forces.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and their South Korean counterpart, Kim Kwan Jin, met in Singapore on Saturday. They later issued a joint statement calling on North Korea to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions that demand it abandon its nuclear weapons and development program.

The statement also said Japan, the United States and South Korea are committed to strengthening cooperation to counter North Korea’s provocations.

Never yield to intimidation

In April, North Korea appeared to be preparing to launch a ballistic missile. However, the launch did not eventuate.

In late May, a special envoy of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was dispatched to China, signaling Pyongyang could be poised to shift from its bellicose stance to seeking dialogue with nations concerned.

To produce positive results in diplomacy toward North Korea, Japan, the United States and South Korea must stand united and ensure nations such as China and Russia join a coalition that can effectively apply pressure on Pyongyang.

Conducting regular joint military exercises and reinforcing surveillance and patrol activities will also be crucial so Japan, South Korea and the United States do not buckle in the face of North Korea’s diplomatic intimidation.

In addition to steps to deal with North Korea, trilateral defense cooperation has steadily expanded to various fields ranging from disaster relief and humanitarian assistance, countermeasures against piracy and activities to help Southeast Asian nations boost their military and maritime security capabilities.

In addition, Japan should step up efforts to build trilateral frameworks of cooperation with the United States and Australia, and the United States and India, for example. These multilateral webs would help preserve the stability of Asia as a whole.

In the triangle linking Japan, the United States and South Korea, it is a matter of concern that cooperation between Tokyo and Seoul remains unsatisfactory compared to Tokyo-Washington and Washington-Seoul ties.

Tokyo-Seoul relations chilled after then South Korean President Lee Myung Bak visited the Takeshima islets in August last year. Many observers expected ties would thaw with the launch of the administration led by President Park Geun Hye in February.

Regrettably, bilateral ties have deteriorated further due to a string of events such as Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine, and remarks by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, coleader of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), regarding the “comfort women” from Japan’s wartime past. Making matters worse, a column in an influential South Korean newspaper recently described the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as “God’s vengeance.”

Address strategically key task

Under Park’s administration, Japan and South Korea have not held summit talks or a foreign ministerial meeting. Planned bilateral talks on the sidelines of the Singapore meeting also were canceled. We think both sides should seek to rebuild bilateral ties on the strength of the latest three-way meeting of defense chiefs. Japan and South Korea should ramp up diplomatic efforts to set the stage for bilateral summit talks or ministerial-level meetings, by making use of international conferences and other opportunities.

Boosting cooperation between Japan and South Korea is a strategically key issue for the sake of squarely dealing with not only North Korea, but also the rapidly rising strength of China. The United States strongly wishes to see Japan-South Korea cooperation boosted in this connection.

Tokyo and Seoul have continued to exchange military information, including on movements by the North Korean military. To materialize full-scale bilateral security cooperation, however, both nations urgently need to sign a General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) and an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA).

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 2, 2013)
(2013年6月2日02時23分  読売新聞)


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