Friday, April 08, 2005

S. Korea should listen to its elders

One is tempted to pick S. Korea up by the collar, give it multiple slaps and say "Pull yourself together man!" It's ironic that a country where filial piety is supposed to be so strong, the younger generation doesn't listen to the older folks that remember N. Korean agression.

Incidently, one sentence in the article describing Japan's role in the region after WWII perplexed me:
Though Japan returned to industrial power, it never restored its moral
legitimacy in Asia.
It's perplexing because prior to industrialization, Japan was very isolationist and whatever presence they had in the region was likely to be in the form of piracy off the coast of Korea and China. So where's the moral legitimacy to restore? Since the WWII, much of S. Korea's economic boom has been fueled by Japanese capital - which, in my view at least, indicates that Japan has atoned for it's imperial past. I'm always confused about the term "moral authority" anyway, especially in terms of politics and deplomacy - but it still seems that Japan now is more benevolent towards their neighbors than at any other time in their history.

The conclusion of the article is right on:

The critical issue in East Asia is North Korea — not the ancient kingdom of
Koguryo, the Tokdo islands or Japanese textbooks.

An initiative that is positive toward Japan is crucial for South Korea-Japan
relations as well as the peace and prosperity of East Asia.

If the core partners of the six-party talks are not in concert, how can they arrive at a common proposal and persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arms programs?

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