Posted by ampontan on Thursday, September 27, 2012
YESTERDAY, senior officials of the South Korean Maritime Police (AKA Coast Guard) confirmed on Chosun Television the information that former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo revealed a year or two ago. According to the Chosun Ilbo report on the program, then-South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun ordered the maritime police to attack and sink two Japanese Coast Guard ships conducting a hydrographic survey in the Sea of Japan if they entered the waters near Takeshima.
Roh gave the order on 14 April 2006. That was a few months before the end of the Koizumi administration, when Mr. Abe was the chief cabinet secretary. The Japanese had provided the International Hydrographic Agency with advance notice of the survey. When South Korea found out, they transferred 18 ships from their maritime police stationed in the West Sea and the South Sea, as the Chosun put it, to defend the islets. As the map above shows, the “West Sea” is what the rest of the world calls the Yellow Sea, and the South Sea is what the rest of the world calls the Jeju Strait. It also shows the Sea of Japan as the “East Sea”, but they generously put the real name in parentheses just below it.
The presidential order was to ram the Japanese ships, sink them, and then fulfill their humanitarian duty by rescuing any Japanese sailors in the water. Said one of the officials on Korean TV:
“We didn’t actually do it, but the order was imbued with the will to defend Dokdo.”
Also yesterday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on the election of the “far right” Abe Shinzo as president of the Liberal Democratic Party, and added:
“If he becomes Prime Minister, it will expose the Japanese trend toward militarism, and friction will increase with China, South Korea, and other surrounding countries…Mr. Abe seems to be dreaming of the revival of a militarist Japan.”
Somebody seems to be dreaming, but they’ve fingered the wrong sleeper. If Yonhap ever wakes up from its stupor, perhaps they’ll remember that Abe Shinzo has already served as prime minister for a year and given everyone an idea of his approach to foreign poicy. His first overseas trip as the head of the Japanese government was to China, and he also visited South Korea for a summit with Roh (whom he immediately discovered was impossible to work with.)
Also during his term of office, Premier Wen Jibao became the first Chinese leader to address the Japanese Diet. In his speech, Mr. Wen said:
“The older generation of Chinese leaders stated on many occasions that it was a handful of militarists who were responsible for that war of aggression. The Japanese people were also victims of the war, and the Chinese people should live in friendship with them.”
“Since the normalization of diplomatic ties between China and Japan, the Japanese Government and leaders have on many occasions stated their position on the historical issue, admitted that Japan had committed aggression and expressed deep remorse and apology to the victimized countries.”
“During my meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday, we agreed to upgrade bilateral economic cooperation by launching a China-Japan high level economic dialogue mechanism. To start with, the two countries should further strengthen cooperation in energy, environmental protection, banking, new and high technology, information and communication and protection of intellectual property rights.”
Toward the end, he observed:
“We in China have a time-honored tradition of prizing virtue rather than force and valuing credibility and harmony.”
So to sum up, we have a leftwing president of South Korea sending a flotilla of 18 ships from the “West Sea” and the “South Sea” to defend Dokdo by attacking two vessels conducting a hydrographic survey. We’ve got the Communist Party in China forgetting everything it once said now that they’ve pried out of Japan the money they needed to kickstart their entry into the modern world, and are trying to pry one part of Japan loose as a preparation for prying loose all of Okinawa.
Wouldn’t it appear to the disinterested observer that the problem is the real militarism of leftists in other Northeast Asian countries rather than the dreams of a non-existent militarism from a “far-right” politician in Japan?
For another entertaining diversion, you might try the Hiroko Tabuchi piece on Mr. Abe’s election in the New York Times. It isn’t often you get the chance to see a major news outlet create an article out of a series of cut-and-paste observations so random as to be scatterbrained.
Their headline also referred to Mr. Abe as a “nationalist”, and the article said his election might “help fuel tensions” in the region. Yes, she did use the word “help”, but no, I don’t think the Chinese and the Koreans really need any help with tension fueling. They’re already doing fine on their own.
Note the underlying assumption that everyone else’s bad behavior is Japan’s responsibility to ameliorate.
She said he might become prime minister after the next election because:
“(N)ow the Democratic Party has lost much of its support, having fallen short on many of their promises to change Japan’s postwar order by wrestling power away from the country’s powerful bureaucrats.”
That’s pretty close to the truth for the Times. All you have to do is replace the word “many” with “all”.
Tabuchi also explained that Mr. Abe resigned the premiership “citing an unspecified health problem”.
Forty-five seconds on Google specified the health problem as ulcerative colitis, one symptom of which is severe diarrhea. He might not have specified it when he resigned, but the Japanese news media did. In Mr. Abe’s case, it involved 30 trips to the bathroom a day, none of which relieved the pain in his abdominal area. He says that a new drug approved for treatment two years ago has helped considerably.
Now if we could only find an equivalent medication for the news media.
The Yomiuri Shimbun is reporting that President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan met with people from the Taiwan military on the 26th and praised the recent fishing boat excursion in Japanese territorial waters:
“They showed the world that the Diaoyutai is Taiwan’s territory.”
And here it was just a month ago that he appeared on Japanese television to tout his East Asia Peace Initiative, one of the clauses of which was to refrain from escalating tension.
Mr. Ma’s family name, by the way, translates to horse. He’s not living up to it, however. It’s hard to tell whether he’s a donkey or a horse.
That might have been the Last Emperor, but the dreams of empire are still alive.