Some indications are seen of a possibility of diplomatic normalization between Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Japan: long hostile relations might end finally. A step forward has been made lately to improve the bilateral relationship to normalize diplomacy. The development will directly link with peace in East Asia though too optimistic prospect cannot be held.
LET’S TERMINATE LONG, HOSTILE BILATERAL RELATIONS!
A government-level meeting was held in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, late May between Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Japan to reach an agreement to ‘realize normalization of diplomacy’.
Both governments proposed, respectively, seven items; DPRK pledged to establish a special investigation council to deal with remains of Japanese who died during the last war in DPRK, those who remained there and Japanese women who married there, victims of abduction, and those missing. Meanwhile, the Japanese government expressed its decision to lift some of its sanction imposed on the counterpart. In July another meeting was held in Beijing when the DPRK presented an outline of the investigation council: its organization, structure and those who are in charge of the body. The Government of Japan has partially relieved the punitive measures after accepting the conditions of the other party.
Starting Line ? Viewpoint on History
The Japanese government pledged to implement seven steps in the agreement; the first is that ‘the Government of Japan, expressing again its will to liquidate the unhappy past, settle concerned issues and normalize relations in line with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, has decided to negotiate sincerely in order to foment trust and improve relations’.
This stance poses a complete difference from the erroneous existing one which totally clings to a rule to sanction. The government suggests that only dialogue will improve bilateral relations and can settle the abduction issue.
What is important is reconfirmation of the Pyongyang Declaration that says ‘Japan humbly accepts a historic fact that it caused extraordinary damages and sufferings to people of Korea by the colonial rule. Japan expresses deep remorse and makes apology from heart’. This notion of history is a starting line for normalization and settlement of various problems.
A decision of DPRK to begin searching for remains of Japanese who died there during the war, those who live there, spouses and abductees/missing means that the nation will commit on a full scale in post-war settlements with Japan.
Both foreign ministers met recently in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, August 10 at the occasion of ASEAN Regional Forum and they exchanged opinions. A high ranking official of the Japanese government told his impression, reportedly, that the meeting had ushered in a new stage.
Change in Policy of Government ? Toward Eternal Peace in the Region
Diplomacy, too, however, is fragile. The Abe government approved the right of collective self-defense, which actually destabilizes situations in East Asia. A US-South Korea military exercise is being held and nobody can tell how DPRK will respond to the maneuver.
It will commemorate the 70th anniversary next year from the defeat of Japan in the WWII. Meanwhile DPRK celebrates this year the 66th foundation of the state. It is extremely abnormal that the two neighbors have not concluded an agreement of diplomacy for these years.
The Korean Peninsula is still in a status of armistice at the 38th north latitude, which means the region is technically at war. The current north-south division is attributable to the colonial rule by Japan. Japan owes responsibilities for changing the conditions from ceasefire to eternal peace in the peninsula.
Normalization between DPRK and Japan constitutes a step forward to accomplish this duty.
August 26, 2014