News / Asia

Japan-S. Korea Dispute Jeopardizes US Asia Plans

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, right, talks with police officer Yoon Jang-soo as Lee visits islands called Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan, August 10, 2012.South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, right, talks with police officer Yoon Jang-soo as Lee visits islands called Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan, August 10, 2012.
x
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, right, talks with police officer Yoon Jang-soo as Lee visits islands called Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan, August 10, 2012.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, right, talks with police officer Yoon Jang-soo as Lee visits islands called Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan, August 10, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
Analysts say a worsening territorial dispute between Japan and South Korea could jeopardize U.S. policy in the Asia-Pacific region.

The dispute escalated last week, when South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited a group of uninhabited islands claimed by both countries, prompting Japan to recall its ambassador. It was the first visit by a South Korean president to the islands, called Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan.

Seoul and Tokyo have long had rocky relations, due in part to anti-Japanese sentiment left over from Japan's harsh colonial rule of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland on Monday encouraged South Korea and Japan to repair ties, but said Washington did not take sides in the dispute.

David Fouse of the Hawaii-based Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies says a lack of cooperation between the two key U.S. allies puts at risk a key element of the Obama administration's pivot toward Asia.

"[Washington is] looking for all of our partners and allies to do a little more in terms of maintaining the global commons [natural resources] and sea lanes of communication, [and] contributing more to the regional security framework," Fouse stated. "And if our two partners aren't able to cooperate, I think it undermines that goal."

In June, South Korea postponed the signing of what would have been its first military accord with Japan since 1945. Security analyst Jonathan Blaxland of Australian National University says it was largely South Korean domestic opposition that led to the cancellation of the intelligence sharing agreement.

But Blaxland says that while the most recent dispute is a serious issue, it is likely to soon pass. "What we're seeing is a potentially significant and useful political distraction for President Lee at the moment, given problems with his brother and other connections with corruption allegations. So beating the nationalist can is actually a pretty convenient thing to do at the moment," he said.

He says the situation could also change following South Korean elections set for December in which President Lee is not eligible to run.

But for now, the situation does not appear to be improving. Japanese media reports said Monday that Tokyo is considering suspending bilateral talks set for next month at a regional summit in Russia. Japan has also said it could take up the territorial dispute with the International Court of Justice.

Fouse points out that the one party that could benefit from ongoing tension between Seoul and Tokyo is China, which would welcome the scuttling of any security cooperation between the two.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid