- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Quarrel between Japan, S. Korea may destabilize region
At the heart of the issue are two main islets and three-dozen smaller rocks in the East Sea/Sea of Japan. Both sides cite long-standing historical ties to the rocky outcrops, which are controlled by South Korea but claimed by Japan.
“If we have some cracks in the bilateral relationship between Japan and Korea, then it will affect the whole security situation in Asia,” Hong Sungmog, an ambassador in South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told The Washington Times on Tuesday.
“If the feelings of the [Korean] people get higher and higher, then the government may not be able to contain the emotion of the people.”
Meanwhile, another territorial disagreement, between Japan and China, has embroiled the region. Beijing and Tokyo claim sovereignty over a group of five East China Sea islands, known as Diaoyu in China and as Senkaku in Japan.
The Obama administration has adopted a rebalancing position toward the Asia-Pacific region and has spelled out military, economic and trade, human rights and diplomatic initiatives.
South Korea calls the islands Dokdo, or solitary islands. Japan calls them Takeshima, or bamboo islands. They are located in rich fishing waters, and it is believed that natural gas reserves may also be located in the area.
The Obama administration, which has declined to mediate in the matter, says the Asian nations must resolve the issue between themselves.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met jointly with her South Korean and Japanese counterparts at the U.N. session in New York on Friday. A senior State Department official told reporters after the meeting that Mrs. Clinton “urged dialogue” and called on both sides to “calm the waters [and] maintain cool heads.”
“She underscored that the U.S. has no intention to play a mediating role,” the official added.
Mr. Hong said it would be “nice” if the U.S. government played some role but conceded it would be hard for it to take sides.
South Korea denies there is any territorial dispute over the islands.
“We Koreans think that it is unfair that this should be an issue at all,” Mr. Hong said.
South Korea says on a government website dedicated to the issue that the Dokdo islands are an “integral part of Korean territory historically, geographically and under international law,”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- U.S. teacher shot dead in Benghazi after al Qaeda call for violence
- Syria nightmare: Fresh fears about al Qaeda fighters there returning home as sleeper terrorists
- Iran official: Sanctions 'utterly failed' to stop nuclear program
- China accuses Japan of raising tensions over new air defense zone
- Joe Biden meets Xi Jinping in China to try to defuse tensions on air defense zone
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- House votes for bargain to end budget drama
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Jane Fonda Foundation fails to make single contribution in 5 years: report
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow