Just a few weeks ago, the possibility of a regular dialogue between Japan and South Korea seemed improbable, but now according to the latter’s Foreign Ministry, talks are underway for a “two plus two” although there is no specific date set. The two East Asian neighbours have been having tense relations lately due to historical issues and a territorial dispute over the Takeshima/Dokdo islets.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Cho Tai Young said that recent events have made it necessary for the two countries to have regular security dialogue. The two plus two meetings involve senior officials from the foreign affairs and defense ministries and this level of talks has not happened for several years. He did not clarify what changed Seoul’s mind in having any sort of talks with Japan, after South Korean President Park Geun Hye recently said that it was useless to have any sort of dialogue with Tokyo when they still have not properly acknowledged or apologized for atrocities committed during their colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula in 1910-1945.
We can surmise however that the change of heart comes from China’s recent decision to implement a new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, which both Japan and South Korea have strongly criticized as it overlaps with disputed territories: the Senkakus/Diaoyu for Japan and Ieodo/Suyan Rock for South Korea. Both have refused to accept that foreign planes flying through the ADIZ have to submit their flight plans to Chinese authorities, with Japan discouraging local airlines from doing so and South Korean military planes going about their business as usual in the Ieodo area.
[ via Global Post ]