Saturday, November 06, 2004

Korea Japan Kagoshima's summit, when history and pride collide

A dispute over the venue for a two day-long
Korean-Japanese summit, which is scheduled to be held in
Japan from Dec. 17, is sparking off a rare diplomatic
conflict. At the Asia-Europe Meeting held in Vietnam
last month, Korea and Japan jointly announced the
southern Japanese city of Kagoshima on the island of
Kyushu as the venue for the summit.

Later, however, the Korean government asked Japan to
change the venue. No one expected the venue would be
considered inappropriate because a Korean-Japanese
ministerial meeting had been held in Kagoshima in late
November 1998 in which then Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil
participated. A Korean-Japanese foreign ministerial
meeting was also convened in the city. Cheong Wa Dae and
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have made an
issue of the venue because the city was the home of
Takamori Saigo, who advocated the invasion of the Korean
Peninsula in the late 19th century, and was also the
headquarters of Japan's "kamikaze" suicide squadrons
during World War II.

The government sent some Cheong Wa Dae and Foreign
Ministry officials to the city to make an on-the-spot
investigation. An official said the government was
reacting sensitively to the venue partly in
consideration of public criticism of President Roh
Moo-hyun’s visit to Japan on Memorial Day last year.
Government officials dispatched to Kagoshima reported
the island housed a memorial monument for kamikaze
squadrons, which reads that kamikaze squadrons must
never come to exist again. The report pointed out that
Takamori Saigo had mobilized rebel forces and committed
suicide after his attempt had been frustrated. Foreign
Minister Ban Ki-moon officially raised the issue about
the inappropriateness of the venue Wednesday, however,
by saying that the government might consider changing
the venue.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be nice and informative when you post or comment.
Thank you to visit Asian Gazette Blog of Joel Legendre-Koizumi.