Just when you think the issues between Japan, China and South Korea have quieted down, along come new developments that has brought old issues to the forefront again. South Korea has officially condemned Japanese lawmakers’ recent visits to the controversial Yasukuni shrine. China meanwhile said that a trip by Japanese nationalists to the waters near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands is illegal.
South Korea’s foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-Young said that the visit of around 170 Japanese lawmakers to a shrine that glorifies war criminals is something that the senior officials should seriously think about. The visit by the lawmakers on Tuesday comes just two days after three Cabinet ministers visited the shrine separately, prompting South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se to cancel his scheduled visit to Tokyo. Cho said that the officials should have thought about how their neighbors, who were former colonies of Japan during World War II, will feel about their actions. “Some claim views on history can differ. But I would like to emphasise that what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong,” Cho emphasized.
China’s Foreign Ministry meanwhile lodged a stern protest with the Japanese government over the trip of 80 Japanese nationalists to the waters surrounding the Senkakus. Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the trip was “illegal” and “troublemaking”, even as the nationalists said they were just surveying the fishing waters in the area. On the same day, China sent 8 patrol ships in the same waters to which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said they will expel by force if any of them landed on the islets. The Japanese Coast Guard watches over the islands and forbids anyone, even Japanese nationals, from setting foot on them.
Although both of these incidents seem like a rehash of almost the same events from last year, they are indications that none of the three are willing to budge on their respective issues. Time will tell if the scheduled trilateral free trade talks between the three region powerhouses will still push through, despite these latest setbacks.
[ via AsiaOne News ]