This post is a sequel to this Takeshima/Dokto post.
The Chosun Ilbo headline Seoul ‘Could Leave Tokyo in the Cold at Six-Party Talks’ doesn’t quite say it all. To quote from the report:
South Korea’s ambassador to Japan on Thursday warned Seoul could withdraw support for Japan in negotiations with North Korea, including over the abduction of Japanese nationals by the North in the 1970s and 80s, due to Tokyo’s renewed claim to the Dokdo islets. “Seoul has traditionally given Japan a certain degree of support at the six-party talks, especially on the nuclear, missile, and abduction issues,” Kwon Chul-hyun said. But Seoul's position could change, “if public opinion and political voices at home turn against cooperation with Tokyo.”
Let’s leave aside the absurdity of the implication that South Korea can give/withhold support to Japan or anybody else in the Six-Party on issues other than “nuclear, missile, and abductees issues”. I’m not sure exactly how they’ve supported Japanese efforts on the abductees issue, but I don’t really care. I have never expected any sympathy on that subject from a government that has for a long time taken its own more substantial abductees problem off the table to avoid antagonizing the North Korean authorities. Besides, anyone who has been following my blog knows that I am not exactly supportive of the Japanese government’s efforts, albeit for very different reasons.
But “…nuclear, missile…”? The South Koreans are so pissed off that they’ll not only let the North Korean authorities keep their nuclear and missile programs, and keep them pointed at Japan?
At least we all now can be sure that South Koreans do not consider North Korea’s WMD a threat. Thanks for the clarification.
ADD: Amidst the insanity, a voice of reason—President Lee Myung-bak. President Lee called for a long-term strategy on Dokto instead of these one-off, heated responses; while the Foreign Ministry indicated that it would conduct a survey on how Takeshima/Dokto is being treated worldwide. President Lee insisted that his administration continue to cooperate closely in the Six-Party Talks with the other participants, including Japan, on North Korea’s nuclear program. Let’s hope that this does not further erode his public support.