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TOPIC: south korea japan relations


Japan-South Korea: Why Rapprochement Is Not Always A Sign Of Peace

The weight of history, and of this geopolitical moment, is propelling the current visit of Japanese Prime Minister in South Korea. Washington is happy that its alliances are aligning, but that's a sign of how high tensions are running in Asia right now.


South Korea and Japan have taken a major step to end a paradox. Indeed, both countries face the same threat, that of a nuclear-armed North Korea. They have the same ally, the United States — and are also uncomfortable neighbors of the Chinese giant.

And yet, they've been separated by the weight of history.

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio's official visit to South Korea, which began Sunday, is the first by a Japanese leader in 11 years. The visit began at the cemetery of war victims, including those of the anti-Japanese struggle: Japan brutally colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945, and this page of history has never been completely turned.

Korean public opinion is divided on this reconciliation, believing that Tokyo has never truly apologized.

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South Korea And Japan: Burying An Ugly Past To Counter China's Rise

South Korean President, Yoon Suk-yeol, made a gesture of reconciliation towards Japan, the country's former colonizer. It gives Washington hope that its two key Asian allies can overcome differences as they face an emboldened China and North Korea.


South Korea's leader President Yoon took advantage of the commemoration of a key date in the Japanese occupation of South Korea, March 1, 1919, to make an unequivocal statement: "Today, more than a century after the March 1 movement, Japan has transformed from a militaristic aggressor of the past into a partner with whom we share the same universal values."

It was an outstretched hand with no conditions attached.

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