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The level of East Asian politics – unwelcome love calls & my enemy’s enemy is not my friend

Firstly, let me re-iterate that there is something that I am absolutely 150 percent fine with, and that is the name of 동해 East Sea, expressed by everybody as Sea of Japan. In fact, I have always maintained that this naming is one of the issues which detracts from the more serious issues of contention by Korea in the East Asian politics.
Having said that, there is something so low about the way Chinese are blatantly trying to enlist Korean government’s support in its anti-Japan stance, that it makes my flesh creep. Recently, I’ve seen interviews of Chinese politicians talking about Japan, with no Korean presence, saying “Korea is also agreeing with us in how Japan should do XXX” or “Korean president also blah blah”.
Now, quoting a Chinese professor, the Chinese government has let it slip that if requested formally by the Korean government, it can consider co-labeling East Sea on its map on the government website (at the moment it’s only labeled as 日本海)..Isn’t it a joke? I think I have seen more highbrow political maneuvering at a kindergarten playground when you swap toshirak side-dishes 반찬. Understandably, the Korean comments which follow are 95 percent against it, ranging from mild skepticism to “return Koguryo’s history and Kando first, and free Tibet! and “Stop with the mirco-dust”

Usually I don’t really like what comes out of the mouths of those hired by Park Kunhye but a few days ago, I read this from the Blue House spokesman, Cho Taeyoung with regards to relations with Japan, and I thought he was quite coherent and succinct.
Cho says that “the Japanese government keeps on choosing to do all the things Korean government has requested specifically not to do yet keeps going on about the worsening relationship.”
Asked about the possibility about collaborating with China on the history problem, Cho’s said

그는 또 일제의 난징(南京)대학살 만행을 국제사회에 다시 고발한 중국과의 ‘과거사 문제’ 공조 문제에 대한 질문에 “협조할 필요가 없다”면서 “굳이 만나서 협의하고 협조할 필요가 없을 정도로 상황이 돼 있다”고 답했다.
There is no need for any collaboration (with China). The situation is already so that there is no need to meet (with China) and collaborate and aid each other on this…

How hard it is to stay in the middle..is it shrimp season?

  • DC Musicfreak

    China is trying this campaign everywhere — with similar results:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/23/us-china-germany-idUSBREA1M12520140223

  • redwhitedude

    Yet another example of China’s lack of soft power.

  • que337

    I agree with this assessment of “China is not 1914 Germany”:
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-02-22/china-not-1914-germany

  • dlbarch

    Two of the “big picture” themes of SoKo foreign policy over the last decade and a half have been the effort, essentially partisan and limited to Korea’s Left under KDJ and RMH, to re-engage with North Korea, and the more bipartisan effort to see China as a lever against North Korean adventurism and foster closer ties with Beijing for precisely that purpose.

    The “sunshine” effort was short-lived, but the idea of South Korea developing and then being able to use a “China card” vis-a-vis North Korea has been a lasting fixture of wonk-shop types across the political spectrum for some time now.

    Until, that is, the sinking of the Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong.

    These two events, and China’s response (or non-response) to them, were a real wake-up call for Korean natsec types, and influenced serious thinkers like Kim Tae-hyo on the need to shore up Korea’s relations with Japan as a counterweight to a clearly disappointing Chinese response to North Korea adventurism. As we now, he paid a heavy price for this.

    Now, uShin2 is revisiting the mistakes of the past by cozying up to China all over again. But she is being played, pure and simple, and the next flare-up with North Korea — and there will be one — will demonstrate just how unreliable the administration’s relations with Beijing are.

    DLB

  • bumfromkorea

    The way Northeast politics has worked for the past few years, it almost feels like China wants Korea on Japans’ side, and Japan wants Korea on China’s side. There’s a strange balancing effort at work here, between the two sides doing their utmost best to push Korea to the other side. Right now, Korea is leaning towards the Chinese. I’m willing to bet that the Chinese are going to do something so stupid within this year that the opinion will again shift towards the Japanese.

  • kaizenmx

    Thats not going to happen anytime soon. The relationship has been worsen between Korea and japan since PGH took over. She absolutely cares nothing about what japan has to say and vice versa.

  • dlbarch

    I think your’re right. The disturbing thing is that I’ve actually heard otherwise sober-minded Kor-wonks opine that they secretly hope China “spanks” Japan over the Senkakus “just to teach Tokyo a lesson.”

    What lesson that might be remains a mystery, at least to me, but for anyone anywhere near policy-making circles to make such a statement is truly astounding.

    That sentiment may be understandable on Naver and even here on MH, but that’s about as far as it should ever go.

    DLB

  • Rat Boy

    Abe’s ultra-nationalist cronies say say there weren’t any comfort women who didn’t enjoy their work, Yasukuni only enshrines Japan’s True Heroes and there was no such thing as a Japanese War Criminal (since war IS the only crime the party line goes), Korea benefited greatly from Japanese know-how during those fifty years of occupation because Japan built railroads and industrialized Korea so they could steal all Korea’s natural resources and send their loot to the home islands; and all without so much as a “thank you” from the old Showa Emperor (who never apologized to his own people for getting them slaughtered as well) or any Japanese government official since Japan surrendered back in 1945. Somehow I don’t think Japan really wants to make a sincere effort to work out its differences with the closest democracy to their shores. Maybe they are ashamed they lost that war to a bunch of multicultural merchants devoid of pure blood and a true warrior ethos and would rather forget about it all.

  • dlbarch

    All of that may be true, and let’s be honest, Japan’s right wing colonial and WWII revisionism, particularly under Abe Shinzo, has been, in a word, disgraceful.

    But the only REAL security threat facing South Korea today is from the North, and the only country REALLY supporting Pyongyang is China.

    So Seoul needs to fundamentally decide whether to look forward or look backward in its relationship with Japan. Right now, the mood in Seoul is backward-looking, over-emphasizing colonial era grievances at the expense of national security.

    That is understandable on an emotional level, but it is not a good strategy.

    DLB

  • Rat Boy

    Before I change my photo, I agree with everything you say. Japan and Korea need to focus on common interests. I wasn’t surprised when China did nothing when the Cheonan was sunk and Yeonpyeong do was bombarded, and China’s reaction to the United Nation’s report on North Korean Human Rights violations didn’t catch me off guard either. I would have to believe these inactions by China must be making some impression at the Blue House and the Korean media.

    China states they oppose a nuclear armed Korean Peninsula and do very little else except continue to conduct business with Japan, South Korea, and North Korea.

    I am bewildered by the South’s continued business dealings with the North such as in Kaesong, but the continued outcry against Japan for a war long since finished and which caused Korea less harm than the 1950-53 war. It is as though they cannot identify OR ACCEPT who their real enemy is.

  • RElgin

    The PRC actively attempted to spread disinformation on the Cheonan incident through an astro-turf campaign that I linked back to one of their own lackeys in Beijing. They are far more active in their attempts to meddle in Korean politics than you describe here.

  • fawefewafaw

    indeed

  • redwhitedude

    Same here. Chinese are hardly innovators and at the cutting edge of anything. They are just playing catch up. The only thing going for them is size.

  • redwhitedude

    Maybe they need to pay those NIS guys to help them out.

  • Sumo294

    DLB, you forget trade–only America can push trade issues. PGH won’t hit her four percent goal with things going sour on either side. Also, the old guard in China are dying of old age, retiring, or diminished. The new guard is much less ideological–this transition should be largely completed in about five years. It will take another five years for the political infrastructure to realize new players–so in about ten years the world will be dealing with a much more American style center left leaning Chinese government. The present Chinese old guard is too cautious to go for the islands–forget Taiwan, off the table–not even on their agenda anymore except to rouse the people.

  • Sumo294

    Yuna–this was a very decent post–still a bit wordy.

  • cckerberos

    You kind of jump from “Abe’s ultra-nationalist cronies” in the first half of your post directly to the Japanese as a whole at the end. The two aren’t synonymous.

  • dlbarch

    You may be right, but I’ve never been convinced that generational change is the great liberalizing force many make it out to be.

    I would love to be proven wrong on this, but it’s just as likely that increased trade will only make China stronger and more confident in asserting a new sphere of influence over its neighbors, as nationalism — rather than liberalism — fills the void left by a communist organizing principle that has lost its efficacy.

    These are big themes, but a rich China does not necessarily promise to be very liberal, much less democratic. And history is filled with examples of countries that have gone to war with their largest trading partners.

    But here’s hoping I’m wrong.

    DLB

  • Sumo294

    DLB–The Chinese have no friends–a result of their style diplomacy–which is to submit to the Middle Kingdom. By the time the new breed take over–there may be new nuclear powers–for the doubters, Pakistan a third world country went nuclear–so crappy was their tech they did not even have missiles to mount their weapon. They have trouble on their domestic fronts–forget international relations. As their internal problems mount–it ain’t gonna be pretty–you will see a Kingdom unable to project any real influence much less power.

  • Rat Boy

    I do lack consistency in my statements from time to time. I was trying to take a cheap shot at the minjok mentality in Korea much like the ethnocentrism found in the Japanese Uyoku dantai, I just didn’t pull it off. I’m reaching my limits is what the problem is.

  • Rat Boy

    I could see the PLA easily filling the place of the Communist Party as the political power for expressing Chinese nationalism.

  • Sumo294

    Best example of inept Chinese diplomacy is Vietnam.
    You would think every Vietnamese person hates America and all Americans.
    Wrong–the Vietnamese are very friendly to Americans and instead that hate China.
    Americans call it the Vietnam War–the Vietnamese call it the damn 100 year old civil war caused by the [bleeping] damn Chinese who manipulated the naïve Americans.
    Do the Vietnamese do business with the Chinese? Yes they do. Will they backstab the Chinese at the first opportunity? Yes indeed.

  • JinJoo

    Thanks for the post, Yuna!

    “…I have always maintained that this naming is one of the issues which detracts from the more serious issues of contention by Korea in the East Asian politics….”

    I agree with you. When it comes to territory, according to international law, whoever is effective controlling the territory for 100 years will own it (on the condition that there’s no dispute over it – the reason Japan keeps mentioning it to create a dispute, and hot-blooded Koreans (predictably) react to it each time. Koreans just shouldn’t respond to Japan’s clever strategy.

    Kim Jang Hoon 김장훈, an entertainer, who donates millions of dollars for advertisement on New York’s Timese Square Billiboard is regarded as a hero in China. There’s even a forest named after him in China – ‘Kim Jang Hoon Forest’.

    Does Kim Jang Hoon say anything about 이어도 Ieodo? Not a single
    word!

    Anti-Chinese sentiment is getting deepening in Korean online forums as more and more Koreans are becoming aware of what China is up to. People are questioning why not only leftwing papers like 한겨레 Han Geo Re and 오마이뉴스 Oh My News, but also Chosun, DongA and JoongAng are all writing pro-Chinese articles. More and more people also are aware of tens and thousands of 50 cents parties working on Korean forums and naver news section manipulating people’s opinions. Where there are Chinese related articles, there are 우마오당 (五毛党).

    CCP is also aware of it (anti-Chinese sentiment) and they try to curry favour with Koreans with different approach. Like building a memorial hall for Ahn Jung
    Geun (they sure won the hearts of Korean people by doing this), and now about East Sea???? China, don’t worry about East Sea, just leave 이어도 Ieodo alone.

    China’s 36 strategies 삼십육계 (三十六計) is well known, and to this date, they apply the strategies to politics, business and civil interaction. One of their favourite is ‘Kill enemy with borrowed knife’ (attack your enemy using the strength of another). Koreans don’t even realise that they are being used by China.

  • Rain Lee

    Do the Talebans hate America? Yes. Do they want to live in America and enjoy freedom and clean running water? Yes. Do they hate America and still want to live in America? Yes. Soft power is over rated in a country the size of China. Raw economic and military power matters.

  • JinJoo

    Thanks for the post, Yuna!

    “…I have always maintained that this naming is one of the issues which detracts
    from the more serious issues of contention by Korea in the East Asian
    politics….”

    I agree with you. When it comes to territory, according to international territory law, whoever is effectively controlling the territory for 100 years will own it (on the condition that there’s no dispute over it – the reason Japan keeps provoking Koreans to create a dispute, and hot-blooded Koreans (predictably) react to it each time. Koreans just shouldn’t respond to Japan’s clever strategy.

    Kim Jang Hoon 김장훈, a singer and an entertainer, who donates millions of dollars for Dok-do advertisement – Do you know Dok-do? series – on New York’s Times Square Billiboard is regarded as a hero in China. There’s even a forest named after him in China – ‘Kim Jang Hoon Forest’.

    Does Kim Jang Hoon say anything about 이어도 Ieodo? Not a single word!

    Anti-Chinese sentiment is getting deepened in Korean online forums as more and more Koreans are becoming aware of what China is up to. People are questioning why not only leftwing papers like 한겨레 Han Geo Re and 오마이뉴스 Oh My News, but also Chosun, DongA and JoongAng are all writing pro-Chinese articles. More and more people also are aware of tens and thousands of 50 cents parties working on Korean forums and naver news section manipulating people’s opinions. Where there are Chinese related articles, there are 우마오당 (五毛党) or 댓글부대.

    China’s 36 strategies 삼십육계 (三十六計) is well known, and to this date, they apply the strategies to politics, business and civil interaction. One of their favourite is ‘Kill enemy with borrowed knife’ (attack your enemy using the strength of another). One example of ‘Kill your enemy with borrowed knife’ is building a Memorial Hall for Ahn Jung-geun (they sure have won the hearts of Korean people by doing it, and reassured that Japan is unforgivable enemy of Korea).

    Koreans don’t even realise that they are being used by China

    Now East Sea???? China, don’t worry about East Sea, just leave 이어도 Ieodo alone.

  • Sumo294

    A visitor to China will get one of either impressions depending on a visit to Shanghai or Beijing.
    If one visits Shanghai-you get the impression that China is modern, clean and efficient.
    If you visit Beijing–after a three hour flight landing delay–you choke on dust–you cannot see anything as everything is covered in dust. All the cars are dusty and whip up more dust. People in suits come into meetings filthy with dust and then proceed to tell you that Beijing has no air pollution problem. One can look out the window and you can barely see more than fifty meters–quality of life in the city is worse than a third world dump. Do not bring children to Beijing–they will pass out on the sidewalk and die. You cannot even escape Beijing as you sit in your airplane for eight hours waiting for a flight clearance.

  • DC Musicfreak

    DLB appears closer to the truth. Xi Jinping will most likely be around for 9 more years and is young by NE Asian political standards. He is more, not less, nationalistic than the old guard, because older folks entertained other belief systems and actually remember WW2 and Korea, while the younger generations have been reared on nationalism and believe a lot of their propaganda. The PRC was more politically liberal from about 1986-89 than it is now. Even if Shinzo Abe is able to ram through 100% of his troubling program, China would still be a more illiberal and militant neighbor than Japan. At least in Asia, I think that China has given up on its pursuit of true soft power — perhaps because it has little and can’t catch up to Korea, Taiwan and Japan in that department.

  • JinJoo

    “The only thing going for them is size.”

    And their population is probably the biggest weapon.

    “Strike a Nuclear Blow at Japan within 10 years,”

    “Rule the World by Population!” Reckless Remarks by a Chinese General Agitates Japanese Media

    Extracted from http://jushinjok.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/strike-nuclear-blow-at-japan-within-10.html

    —————–

    ‘…JU CHEONG HU, a major general (equivalent to a brigadier
    general in Korea). At the time of the speech, his post was Director of Defense Graduate School of China’s People Liberation Army. ‘

    ‘…….It is known that this speech by General JU appeared in the monthly magazine, 東方 時代‘the East Era’, which was published for the China’s People Army and those concerned with it. ……’

    ‘…China should eliminate neighboring countries by nuclear weapons within 10 years, when the project of underground base of nuclear missiles is expected to be completed.’

    ‘…What is important is that China should take an initiative in competing with many other countries and try to reduce the population of other races as much as possible and at the same time help our own people increase in numbers.”

    ‘…China should relax Chinese Communist Party’s birth control policy (Procreation and Raising Family Plan in China) and infiltrate surplus population into the neighboring countries by all means.’

    ‘…Government should take an active part in encouraging illegal entries into other countries among the people. Even by using this method, China ought to expand its population.’

    ‘….China should also carry out in bold and fierce spirits a nuclear attack on the countries like Japan as an opportunity arises and
    try to destroy majority of the population before they prepare for
    counterattacks.’

  • JinJoo

    중국 전문가 “산아제한 정책, 계속 완화될 것”
    Chinese Communist Party’s relaxed birth control policy

    http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=100&oid=001&aid=0006744374

  • JinJoo

    중국 전문가 “산아제한 정책, 계속 완화될 것”
    Chinese Communist Party’s relaxed birth control policy

    http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=100&oid=001&aid=0006744374

  • redwhitedude

    They can’t catch up in soft power because they think soft power can be generated by some stupid propaganda campaign run by CCP bureacrats and they rely on censorship to snuff out alternative sources of news. That is the way they are wired and it doesn’t look like they will change that because they are “socialists”. Art and entertainment that is only CCP approved.

  • Sumo294

    The younger folks are different. True the younger guys have been raised on nationalism but these elites have studied abroad and speak perfect English. They still have ties to cousins and friends in HK, San Fran, Vancouver and DC. Everyone in China is ultra-nationalistic that is a given and if you are not–no outsider can tell the difference because private misgivings are not shared outside their circle. The future leadership will come out of this group–English speaking with a degree from the USA. Already in China–if you can’t speak English you are part of the lower class.

  • que337
  • redwhitedude

    Not surprising. China has the CCP with guaranteed power with its entrenched cronies that get their hand on business interests. Same with the LDP with its cozy dealings with big business. Both would be handcuffed if they had to make fundamental changes. This despite chinese claims that they will avoid ending up like Japan.

  • wangkon936

    Korea might have some of the same risks here too… but the chance for “disruptive” change in Korea is higher than it is in China and Japan, which makes the possibility of reform better in Korea.

  • unplanned_life

    I am an American in China, with a Chinese wife and daughter attends a regular public school here. Already, at the age of seven, my daughter was spouting vitriol about Japan during the winter Olympics. “Japanese devils, I hate them.” Couldn’t believe it. And she has said that stuff on more than one occasion. She most likely has not been hearing it from teachers, but from other students–but still.