A very good article from World Tribune about the relations between Japan and South Korea, titled “Japan, S. Korea break the ice, agree to address unresolved ‘comfort women’ issue”, November 2015. However, I must say a few more things about the relations between Japan and South Korea, before bringing up the article.
Picture 1 Japan-South Korea
Japan and South Korea are both strategic allies of the United States, with Japan being the 3rd, and South Korea being the 11th largest economy in the world.
Picture 2 Countries Ranked According to GDP
Japan had difficult relations with both North and South Korea, because from the beginning of the 20th century till the end of the Second World War, the Korean peninsula was a Japanese colony. Japan left the Korean peninsula after she was defeated in WW2 (1945). For 20 years South Korea was not willing to establish diplomatic relations with Japan, something that was finally done in 1965. North Korea never established official diplomatic relations with Japan.
I must also say that during the Korean War of 1950-1953, the Soviets and the Chinese supported the Communists of Korea, and the Americans supported the nationalist socialists. Finally the Korean peninsula was divided, with the Communists taking the Northern and the national socialists taking the Southern part of the country. What happened in Vietnam did not happen in Korea. In Vietnam the Soviet and the Chinese supported the communists at the north of the country, and the Americans supported the nationalist socialists at the south. In the end the Vietnamese communists won the whole country. That’s not what happened in Korea.
The Korean national socialists, due to their alliance with the West, gradually introduced a liberal economic model, and they made South Korea the economic power that she is today. Korea is a very good example of what happens to countries that are willing to follow liberal policies, and what happens to countries that follow socialist policies. Look at South Korea and North Korea today, and that’s all it takes to realize the difference between the liberal and the socialist worlds. Even though I have to admit that South Korea is not at the top of the list with the most liberal countries, as you can see at the following table. South Korea is 28th in the list. Actually that’s not that bad. The figures were taken on November 3rd 2015.
Picture 3 List of Countries According to How Liberal they Are
The Japanese were very tough conquerors for the Koreans. For example they were forcing the women of Korea to work in the brothels of the Japanese army, something that the Koreans never forgot. The South Koreans believe that the Japanese have not compensated them enough for what they had suffered under the Japanese occupation. However the Japanese and the South Koreans are on the same side, and even though there is still a lot of suspicion between the two, they became very strong trading partners. They even had to cooperate on defense issues because they face China and North Korea as common enemies. As you can read at the following World Tribune article the leaders of the two countries agreed to further cooperate on the issue of the nuclear program of North Korea.
What is also very important for the two countries is that they have territorial disputes, because they have not agreed on their exclusive economic zones. There are disputed islets i.e. the Liancourt Rocs. Obviously both countries hope to find in the future significant offshore oil and gas reserves.
Picture 4 Liancourt Rocks
For the article see:
“Japan, S. Korea break the ice, agree to address unresolved ‘comfort women’ issue”, November 2015