News / Asia

US: Japan, South Korea Should 'Quickly' Improve Ties

FILE - Daniel Russel.
FILE - Daniel Russel.
VOA News
The U.S. is urging Japan and South Korea to improve strained relations, which Washington fears may threaten an important Asian security alliance.

Danny Russel, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, called on both countries to "show prudence and restraint in dealing with difficult historical issues."

"It is very much in the interest of the United States and therefore it is very much a diplomatic priority for the United States that the friction and the tension between these two extraordinarily close friends and allies of the United States be reduced - and be reduced quickly. Both Japan and the Republic of Korea need to make respective efforts to help create a more conducive and positive climate," said Russel.

Relations between the two U.S. allies have plummeted over what Seoul considers Tokyo's unapologetic stance toward Japan's imperialist past.

Russel told a Senate hearing on Tuesday that it is a U.S. "diplomatic priority" for the tensions "to be reduced, and be reduced quickly."

He said both countries share many of the same challenges, including North Korea and its nuclear weapons program and other "regional uncertainties."

This week, Japan announced it will review evidence that led to a 1993 apology over forced prostitution of Asian women in Japanese wartime brothels.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has said that Tokyo will only experience isolation if it revises the apology for the so-called comfort women.

As many as 200,000 Asian women, mainly South Koreans, were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II.

Seoul also responded angrily to a visit last year by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to a Tokyo shrine that honors several war criminals among other war dead.

Senator Ben Cardin, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's East Asia subcommittee, said Abe's "rhetoric on these issues is increasingly concerning to many."

He also said Beijing, which has its own historic disputes with Tokyo, may be trying to take advantage of the situation.

"One of my concerns is that it looks like China is trying to increase the wedge between Japan and the Republic of Korea to establish a closer relationship with the Republic of Korea to the detriment of Japan," said Cardin.

China has complained fiercely over Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, as well as his stated intention to change or reinterpret Japan's pacifist construction.

South Korea and China were among the primary victims of Japan's pre-war imperialism. Both are also engaged in tense territorial disputes with Japan.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid