China News Service, June 22 (Zhang Aolin, Liu Cong) On June 22, 1965, Japan and South Korea signed the "Japan-Korea Basic Treaty", which achieved the normal relations between the two countries since Korea became a Japanese colony in 1910. Change. However, at present, due to trade disputes, Japan and South Korea, whose relationship is "freezing point", do not seem to have the mood to commemorate this historical moment.
For half a century, the "knot" left by a series of historical issues such as the forced labor issue, the comfort women issue, and the island dispute has caused the ups and downs in the relationship between these two countries.
Data picture: On August 2, 2019, South Korean people protested against Japan's removal of South Korea from the trade "white list" in front of the Japanese Embassy in South Korea.
Trade disputes have plunged the relations between the two countries into a "freezing point"
In a poll in July 2019, 77% of South Koreans said they "have no good feelings for Japan", setting the highest record since 1991. In December of the same year, in a poll conducted by the Japanese Cabinet Office on Japan-South Korea relations, 71.5% of the respondents said that they "have no good feelings for South Korea", setting a new high since the survey in 1978.
Not only the people, but also the stagnation of communication between the two sides at the government level. What is it that makes the two countries that had a good relationship with the 2002 World Cup co-hosted to where they are today?
All this must start from the trade dispute between the two countries that began in July 2019.
At that time, Japan took the lead in "problem", strengthened the examination of three kinds of raw materials for the semiconductor industry exported to South Korea, and then excluded the South Korea from the "white list" for trade convenience. The reason is, "appropriate export management for safety reasons".
Data Map: On July 20, 2019 local time, due to trade friction between Japan and South Korea, South Korean people protested in front of the Japanese Embassy.
The South Korean side defines this as "economic retaliation" from Japan. In 2018, the Supreme Court of South Korea twice ruled that Japanese companies compensate Korean workers forced during the colonization of the Korean peninsula and seized assets of related Japanese companies in South Korea.
Subsequently, the South Korean side also "blackened" the Japanese side and refused to renew the "Japan-South Korea Military Intelligence Protection Agreement" (hereinafter referred to as the "Military Intelligence Agreement") in August of the same year. Relations between the two countries deteriorated rapidly.
Although South Korea's last moment before the expiration of the "Military Agreement" in November 2019 was "loose", saying that it could temporarily postpone the termination period, the "chain" of the two sides did not seem to be unlocked.
As Zhou Yongsheng, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the Foreign Affairs University, said in an interview with a reporter from ChinaNews.com, the "Military Agreement" between Japan and South Korea "is only a political symbol of cooperation between the two sides." "The labor issue is the main reason for the freezing point of both sides."
Those "knots" that are constantly cut and unreasonable
"Several contradictions that have been difficult to resolve between Japan and South Korea for a long time, mainly for two reasons, one is historical reasons." Yang Xiyu, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, said in an interview with a reporter from China News.
——The problem of forced labor recruitment, the history of Japan and South Korea "open case"
When Japan underwent colonial rule on the Korean peninsula, it once forced the local people to work as laborers in Japan. In 1965, the two countries signed the "Japan-Korea Claim Right Agreement". According to the Japanese side, the Japanese side "solved" all similar disputes and victims' claims in a one-off manner after passing economic assistance to South Korea.
On October 30, 2018, the South Korean Supreme Court ruled that the relevant Japanese company compensated 100 million won for each of the four Korean workers who were forced by the Japanese during World War II. Li Chunzhi, the only 94-year-old Korean man living among the four, held a press conference to express his thoughts. Image source: Video screenshot of South Korean YTN TV station
However, since the late 1990s, some workers and their families in South Korea have continuously filed lawsuits against Japanese companies to demand compensation. One of these claims was “rejected” by the Japanese Supreme Court. After 15 years, in October 2018, the Korean Supreme Court issued a judgment for compensation by a Japanese company.
Soon after, the South Korean Supreme Court ruled in two other cases in support of Korean workers’ claims. The reason why the plaintiff wins the lawsuit in succession is because the Korean judiciary believes that the "Japan-Korea Claim Right Agreement" does not hinder the plaintiff's individual claim rights.
The two sides have come and gone on this issue with each other.
However, there are far more than one historical issues between the two countries.
Data picture: On December 30, 2015, in Seoul, South Korea, a photo of a comforting woman held high in the hands of local people protested in front of the Japanese embassy.
——The problem of comfort women, another big "heart knot"
Since World War II, the Korean people have been trying to solve the problem of comfort women. Since 1992, the people have spontaneously organized "Wednesday Rally" around the issue of comfort women, asking the Japanese government to apologize and compensate. So far, it has held more than 1,400 times.
In December 2015, the Japanese government and the then South Korean Park Geun-hye government reached an "Agreement on Korean-Japanese Comfort Women". According to the agreement, the Japanese government invested 1 billion yen, and the Korean government established the "Reconciliation and Healing Foundation" to provide relief funds to the victims.
The problem seems to be resolved, but the agreement on the Korean government can no longer mention the comfort women issue, as well as Japan’s failure to formally apologize and compensate, has caused dissatisfaction among the Korean public.
"Although there is an agreement on the compensation of comfort women, the Korean people believe that they must compensate from the government's perspective, not from the perspective of the people, because the government's compensation is the (Japanese) government's correct understanding of that period of history." Yang Xiyu said.
In fact, in 2012, the Japanese Noda Yoshihiko government proposed to South Korea that the Japanese government apologize to the living victims of South Korean comfort women, but the negotiations broke down because of differences in opinions between the two parties.
Data map: Japan and South Korea disputed islands (Japan called "Takeshima", South Korea called "Dokdo").
-Japan and South Korea island disputes, real interests
After that, the then South Korean President Li Mingbo boarded a disputed island in Japan and South Korea (South Korea called "Dokdo" and Japan called "Takeshima"), and the relations between the two countries gradually deteriorated.
The island dispute in Japan and South Korea is Yang Xiyu's "another reason for the difficulty of resolving the conflict"-real interests.
At present, the island is actually controlled by South Korea. Although Japan has repeatedly protested, the island issue is not as direct as the historical issue.
Zhou Yongsheng believes that "island disputes are more like a card in the hands of both parties. They can be played when needed, and they can be shelved when the relationship between the two sides is relaxed. Although it is difficult to resolve in the short term, there will not be too much conflict."
Data Map: On July 12, 2019, Japan and South Korea had their first direct contact in Tokyo on economic and trade frictions.
The trouble should end it?
"In a foreseeable period, the relationship between Japan and South Korea has truly returned to a stable and harmonious relationship. Regarding the trend of Japan-South Korea relations, Yang Xiyu and Zhou Yongsheng gave similar views.
Although South Korea's "Matsuguchi" did not terminate the "Military Intelligence Agreement" for the time being, the two sides had many contacts, including summit talks, but it seemed that no "export" was found for the puzzle. South Korea even decided on June 2 to reopen the complaint filed with the WTO against Japan’s restrictions on exports to South Korea and put it into action on June 18.
As for South Korea's move, the Japanese side responded that the trade issue should be resolved by the two parties through dialogue, and expressed "extreme regret" for South Korea's unilateral actions.
Data Map: On December 24, 2019, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Wen Zaiyin held a summit meeting.
Zhou Yongsheng analyzed and said, "South Korea still wants to break the current situation, because imported semiconductors and other products are subject to Japan and are stuck in the neck, but Japan has no intention of giving back."
Yang Xiyu also believes that "to break the deadlock, the dominant power should be in Japan. If Japan has a correct understanding of historical issues first, it will ease the contradiction between the two sides to a great extent."
Over the past half century, various issues between the two countries have been intertwined. When it comes to their impact, Zhou Yongsheng believes that "the relationship between the two countries is not good and has a negative impact on the situation in Northeast Asia; if the relationship between the two countries is resolved, it will affect Northeast Asia (the situation)." Moderation is beneficial."
The trouble should end it. Yang Xiyu analyzed and said, "Theoretically, Japan and South Korea can solve problems on their own, without third-party intervention. Only independent solutions are the real solutions, but at present there is no chance." (End)