North Korea and South Korea in a possible inter-Korean summit: Japan on sidelines

North Korea and South Korea in a possible inter-Korean summit: Japan on sidelines

Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Korean Peninsula recently witnessed the launch of tested ballistic missiles by North Korea and South Korea. This occurred within hours of each other. Henceforth, words of strength were spoken by President Moon Jae-in of South Korea.

Moon said, South Korea will continue to develop its military weapons programs to “overwhelm North Korea’s asymmetric power.”

These words came on the knowledge that South Korea became only the seventh nation to have such advanced technology concerning submarine-launched ballistic missiles. He continued by stating that South Korea had “sufficient deterrence to respond to North Korea’s provocations at any time.”

Interestingly, China and America took a diplomatic approach to the situation. However, Japan condemned North Korea strongly.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the testing by North Korea was “outrageous, a threat to the peace and security of our country and the region.”

Yet, with the administration of Suga being heavily focused on anti-China policies under his leadership, the debacle of Afghanistan sums up the reality on the ground. This concerns Japan only evacuating one Japanese national despite sending forces to evacuate many Japanese nationals. In other words, Japan heavily relies on the United States to an extreme.

Henceforth, President Joe Biden – similar to former leader Donald Trump – doesn’t concern himself too much about Japan’s position outside of the usual formalities. Thus, Biden knows that the issue of the Korean Peninsula will be solved – or fall apart – based on China, North Korea, South Korea, and the United States.

Kim Yo Jong, the sister of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, condemned South Korea after Moon aimed his comments strongly at North Korea. She said, “If the president joins in slandering the other party, it will inevitably result in counteractions, which will then be sure to lead to the complete destruction of relations between North and South Korea.”

Irrespective of people being anti-North Korea, it is illogical to ignore the modernization of the armed forces of South Korea and the military power of the United States with its armed forces stationed in Japan, South Korea, and other parts of Asia. Thus, Kim Yo Jong said it is an “illogical attitude that describes their similar behavior as a legitimate action to support peace, and ours as a threat to peace.”

North Korea, one week later, is hinting at another possible inter-Korean summit providing South Korea and the United States stem their hostile policies towards North Korea. She uttered, “I think that only when impartiality and the attitude of respecting each other are maintained, can there be a smooth understanding between the North and the South.”

Voice of America reports, “The 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice not a peace treaty, leaving U.S.-led U.N. forces technically still at war with North Korea.”

The sister of the leader of North Korea speaks with clarity and in the knowledge that the elites in North Korea have full trust in her. She continued, that constructive and respectful discussions can only solve “the re-establishment of the North-South joint liaison office and the north-south summit, to say nothing of the timely declaration of the significant termination of the war.”

However, despite President Biden calling for “sustained diplomacy,” the stumbling block remains to be the nuclear angle of North Korea and its continuing missile program. Of course, for North Korea, the nuclear angle and missile program are deemed necessary. After all, the balance of power is firmly in the court of the United States when it comes to weapons of mass destruction.

Kim Yo Jong, making clear overtures to South Korea, said, “I felt that the atmosphere of the South Korean public desiring to recover the inter-Korean relations from a deadlock and achieve peaceful stability as soon as possible is irresistibly strong… We, too, have the same desire.”

However, South Korea, while more independent than Japan and not following Japan’s anti-China containment policies of the United States, is still tied to the strings of the United States. Therefore, it is important that China and the United States equally seek a compromise concerning the Korean Peninsula whereby North Korea and South Korea have more leeway to reach mutual accommodation.

Japan continues to persist with its anti-China policies under the Suga administration. The same applies to strong words against North Korea. However, Japan is a mere bystander because the ruling Liberal Democratic Party relies on the United States concerning geopolitics and military protection.

Many decades ago, President Nixon agreed to visit China. This caught Japan off guard. Similarly, when Trump decided to meet the leader of North Korea, little was discussed with Japan. Hence, Japan remains on the sidelines. Therefore, any U-turn by the United States merely highlights the little clout Japan holds over the political elites in Washington.

World War Two ended over 75 years ago. In that time period, the remaining European Empires collapsed, Saudi Arabia finally abolished slavery in the early 1960s, the Cold War with the Soviet Union ended after its ultimate demise, and Germany became the economic backbone of the European Union (EU). However, the impasse of the Korean Peninsula still remains along with the same sidelined Japan because of its overreliance on the United States.

It is hoped that all sides will finally enter into genuine negotiations to solve the protracted Korean Peninsula issue.


Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

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