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Category: China (page 2 of 31)

Chinese tourists feel disrespected in Korea: Ye Olde Chosun

Despite being the biggest customers in the Korean tourism market—both in terms of numbers and money spent—many Chinese tourists come away with bad feelings.

Or so reports the Chosun Ilbo, citing a poll it took of 100 Chinese tourists in Myeong-dong, Dongdaemun and Gangnam taken last year.

A full 25% of respondents said their image of Korea worsened after actually visiting the country. In particular, 37% responded that they were the target of real or perceived contempt from Koreans. Only 10% said they’d felt such contempt when traveling in other countries, which would suggest—says the Chosun—that globe-trotting Chinese tourists get such a strongly negative impression only in Korea.

Chinese not only accounted for a full third of all the foreigners who entered Korea last year, but they also spend the most money here. In 2012, the average Chinese tourist spent USD 2,153.7 in Korea, 140% the foreign tourist average of USD 1,529.5. They also spent USD 378 per day; likewise, this was the highest among foreign tourists. Chinese tourists are also responsible for a considerable amount of added value—perhaps as much as KRW 7 trillion’s worth.

Of the disrespected Chinese tourists, 12 said they were verbally disrespected, 11 pointed to facial expressions, and eight cited body language.

One 20-something Chinese tourist the Chosun met in Myeong-dong recently was pissed off about an incident that took place in a subway. On the second day of her visit, she was talking in Chinese with her friend on the subway when an ajumma tapped her with her foot and motioned for her to go into another carriage. She could feel the contempt in her eyes, she said. At Dongdaemun Market, the only time she felt welcomed was when she handed over money.

When Chinese tourists head off the major tourist track, things get even worse. Volunteer Chinese interpreters say the places about which they get the most complaints are the well-known beauty salons in places like Sinchon and Apgujeong (Marmot’s Note: Well-known hair stylists? Being dicks? To tourists? Noooooooooooooooo!). One volunteer said he took a 20-something Chinese woman to a hair stylist in front of Ewha, but when they got there the owner’s faced turned sour. The volunteer said the open display of dislike was embarrassing.

Despite this, Korean officials are still saying there’s nothing to worry about. A government survey on inbound tourism taken this year showed the Chinese tourists were highly satisfied with their travel experience, scoring 4.14 points out of 5. This was the same level of satisfaction as the total average. Experts say this is an illusion, however. The government polls are often given of tourist groups at select shopping malls, hotels and restaurants—places where tourists are unlikely to meet the “real Korea,” so to speak.

China experts warn the impact of this goes beyond money—it could affect the entire Sino-Korean relationship. One foundation director head said the Sino-Korean relationship was an important matter on which Korea’s future depended, and lessening the gap in culture and values was the basis of diplomacy, both at the private and government levels. He added that this social value was a national asset much more important than money.

Marmot’s Note: Being from New York, I just naturally assume tourists are treated like jerks and am pleasantly surprised when they aren’t.

Speaking of which, somebody posted this on Facebook yesterday. I thought it was hella funny:

Anyway, Korean readers, on your way home today, please hug a Chinese tourist. They apparently need one.

“You’re Voldemort” “No You are!” “No You are times 100 million thousand and 반사!”

I don’t like Harry Potter, there! I’ve said it! I’ve read one (don’t remember which one) and thought it was overrated, especially compared to the classics like Winnie the Pooh or the Moomintrolls or even Paddington Bear, or even closer to the genre, the Enid Blyton classics of St.Clares/Famous Five or Erich Kästner’s Emil and the Detectives series…
How funny are these people then!
I am linking to the Guardian and not the original Telegraph where this is played out, because the way I was raised, Telegraph is the Voldemort.

China—Pyongyang discord and B.R. Myers on Jang’s purge

What does China think of Kim Jong-un and his “politics of terror”?

The Dong-A Ilbo reports that Beijing is mighty displeased—a diplomatic source in Beijing said that while China looked calm on the outside, inside they were embarrassed and infuriated. Essentially, a 29-year-old tyrant whacking his uncle has turned North Korea into an even more untouchable pariah than it already was. A Cheong Wa Dae official suggests that Jang’s purge was aimed at China—-Beijing was trying to get Pyongyang to return to talks on the nuclear issue, and Pyongyang responded by killing Jang in an attempt to pull China back to its side. China, the United States, South Korea—everybody’s concerned that Kim Jong-un might for a little too impulsive for the international community’s good.

It also noted that none of this bode well for Seoul’s desire to turn North Korea into a “normal country” and reduce its international isolation. Of course, this should come as no surprise—the problem has never been an unwillingness on the part of South Korea to reduce tensions. It’s that you can’t reduce tensions if the North doesn’t want to play along.

Back to China. The previously mentioned diplomatic source said Beijing has repeatedly asked North Korea to send somebody to explain the purge, but Pyongyang has come up with all sorts of excuses not to. Pyongyang also failed to tell Beijing anything about the purge ahead of time, in the face of established bilateral custom. Two nations that ARE communicating, however, are China and the United States—the source says the Beiing—Washington hotline has been very active since the purge. Chinese statements of disinterest are for public consumption only—they’re very worried.

That said, China still views the situation in the North as an ongoing one, and it doesn’t know how things will ultimately work out for Beijing. One Chinese professor told the Dong-A that while some folk considered Jang pro-Chinese, there are no pro-Chinese people in North Korea, really. Another professor, though, said Jang was the outside world’s last chance for reform in North Korea, and China would now be forced to reevaluate its relations with the North. Personally, I’ll believe that when I see it.

The Dong-A also reports something or other about some nice Jewish girl named Emily Ratajkowski who did something or other involving “Blurred Lines” with Alan Thicke’s son.

But I digress.

Fans of B.R. Myers will want to check his interview in New Republic. Here’s just a sample:

I was not all that shocked by the purge itself. Kim Il Sung purged his own brother. Kim Jong Il effectively purged his own eldest son. As for Jang’s punishment, it’s not as wild and brutal as all that. The Chinese execute people for corruption too. The shocking thing is the indiscretion with which the regime has gone about everything. Anyone who still thinks some gray eminence is pulling Kim Jong Un’s strings just doesn’t realize how much long-accumulated mythological capital the latest propaganda has destroyed in a matter of days.

North Korea had prided itself on complete unity ever since the establishment of a “unitary ideology” in 1967. When the regime warned against subversive behaviors it resorted to cartoons with animal figures rather than admit to actual internal disunity. Power struggles elsewhere were gloated over as evidence that only North Korea had leaders whose greatness stood above dispute. The benevolent charisma of the leaders was said to be so irresistible that even representatives of enemy states, like Jimmy Carter and Kim Dae Jung, succumbed to it. And now the North Koreans find out that Kim Il Sung’s own son-in-law and Kim Jong Il’s right-hand man was engaging in crimes since the 1980s? Yet they are still expected to believe in the infallibility of Kim Jong Il’s choice of successor?

photo credit: (stephan) via photopin cc

Chinese whinging about kimchi’s UNESCO status

Some truly blogtastic complaining from Zhang Huiqiang, the associate director of the Museum of Sichuan Cuisine, about the registration of kimchi on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list:

“Technically, kimchi originated from Sichuan pickles,” said Zhang. “It’s like the offspring has stolen the glory belonging to its ancestor.”

And on Chinese social media:

“Our Sichuan pickles taste much better than Korean kimchi. They have a longer history and are more diverse!” Claire Li wrote on Sina’s microblog, Weibo.

Parting shot from Zhang:

“I don’t worry that Unesco won’t list two similar items,” Zhang said. “Ours is better, keep that in mind; if they can recognise a good one, why not a better one.”

According to a JoongAng Ilbo piece from 2011, Sichuan’s butt-hurt pickle-makers have been trying to push this line for a couple of years now. Interestingly enough, Sichuan pickles are fermented in a clay jar, much like Korea’s kimchi, although the pickles’ sterile fermentation contrasts with the lactic acid fermentation used in kimchi, German kimchi (referred to in some places as “sauerkraut”) and yogurt.

Pro tip: Russian dill pickles go great with buuz.

photo credit: buck82 via photopin cc

Chinese nuclear umbrella: first Ukraine, next North Korea?

The JoongAng Ilbo reports that China has just gotten into the nuclear umbrella business, pledging to provide security assurances to Ukraine if it is threatened with nuclear attack.

Now, the English-language Xinhua report on the summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych didn’t seem to mention it, but this English-language summary of a Global Times report does:

The statement consists of six points. In Point one, China promises to provide nuclear security assurances to Ukraine.

It states: “According to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 984 and the Chinese government statement on providing security assurances to Ukraine dated December 4, 1994, China undertakes unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine as a non-nuclear country and to provide corresponding security assurances to Ukraine when Ukraine suffers or is threatened with invasion with nuclear weapon.

According to the JoongAng Ilbo report, experts believe the Chinese move may have North Korea in mind. The argument goes that if China is able to provide a credible nuclear umbrella to states like North Korea, it could reduce the need felt by Pyongyang to develop its own nuclear deterrent, and so contribute to regional security.

Honestly, I don’t really think North Korea’s nuclear program is as much about deterrence as it is about shaking down its neighbors and the United States for cash. I’m sure they’d appreciate the Chinese gesture, regardless. It would say something about Chinese diplomacy, though, if out of 193 sovereign states, the first states to get nuclear protection are Yanukovych’s Ukraine and North Korea. Could Syria be far behind?

UPDATE: Tweets Joshua H. Pollack:

photo credit: jamiejohndavies via photopin cc

Unintentionally ironic Chinese statement of the day

China thinks the expansion of Korea’s Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) is mean:

Lü Chao, a researcher at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, said the latest gesture shows a provocative stance.

“The original KADIZ was established by the US more than 60 years ago and it hasn’t changed all these years. South Korea and China have been at peace over the zone. This time the change in attitude is obviously a response to China’s ADIZ, it’s not a friendly gesture towards China,” he told the Global Times.

On the other hand, as Joshua Trevino writes on Facebook, “If you can’t get the Koreans on board with your anti-Japanese gambit, things have gone badly amiss.”

The Korean military has recently increased its P3-C surveillance flights over Ieodo to one a day and is considering shifting some of its F-15Ks from Daegu to Gwangju if foreign (read: Chinese) warplanes make it a habit of entering the KADIZ uninvited.

President Park, meanwhile, said this morning that the expansion of the KADIZ was done to guarantee Korea’s national interests as a sovereign nation. She did criticize some people—including, presumably, the media—for causing public insecurity by calling for immediate action, making exaggerated reports or expressing speculative opinions.

photo credit: Steve Webel via photopin cc

South Korean ADIZ To Expand

air-defenseThe South Korean Government will announce the expansion of their Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) this coming week.  The expansion includes the southern islands of Marado and Hongdo, as well as the Ieodo Ocean Research Station and is in response to the aggressive behaviour of the PRC’s attempt to extend it’s own ADIZ over islands whose ownership they are contesting.

The PRC has already expressed its “regret” over this decision to expand the South Korean ADIZ, (since maybe they feel they did not expand theirs enough?)

Though the South Korean Government does not wish to act rashly, action is needed at this time:

. . . Hong Hyun-ik, a senior researcher at the Sejong Institute, said, “As China takes toll on South Korea, we have no option but to declare our expanded air zone. . . A lukewarm response could send a signal that we may make a concession on our own territory,”.

I note that a joint naval drill will be taking place tomorrow between South Korea, U.S. and U.K. forces in the area south of Chejudo.

photo credit: 대한민국 국군 Republic of Korea Armed Forces via photopin cc

Big Information Security Problems for the ROK? – Why American Senators Worry About Huawei in South Korea

A business deal between South Korea (LG Telecommunications) and Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecommunications giant, is causing great concern for several important American senators, who are advising the White House to dissuade South Korea from allowing such a deal since it could (likely) undermine defense plans for the region:

Dianne Feinstein and Robert Menendez, respectively the chairs of the Senate’s intelligence and foreign affairs committees, said in a letter that “maintaining the integrity of telecommunications infrastructure” was critical to the alliance (ROK/US) . . . The warning about the Seoul network came in a private letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr.

huaweipla02

Congress rejected Huawei’s entrance into the American market due to security concerns but this marks a first time that American politicians have taken a direct interest in the security concerns involving a Chinese company elsewhere.

Huawei’s CEO is quoted as saying Huawei can go elsewhere for business, other than America:

Ren Zhengfei, the Huawei founder and chief executive, said if the company got caught in the middle of U.S.-China tensions, “it’s not worth it”.

America has effectively blocked Huawei’s expansion in the American market due to concerns of the company creating a “backdoor” into sensitive communications systems throughout the U.S. (cite)

Wacky stuff involving China, Taiwan, Mongolia

Limeys, the Global Times would like you to know your nation ain’t shit—basically, it’s a place to sell cheap crap/illegally immigrate to study and travel in, but not much more:

The Cameron administration should acknowledge that the UK is not a big power in the eyes of the Chinese. It is just an old European country apt for travel and study. This has gradually become the habitual thought of the Chinese people.

The Global Times: keeping it classy, since 2009.

I was half surprised they didn’t include a “bad teeth” joke somewhere in there. But then again, this is China we’re talking about.

To add irony to insult, the editorial ends, “Finally, let us show courtesy to Cameron and wish him a pleasant trip.”

Moving on, the president of Taiwan—which I generally like, except when it’s baseball season—is reportedly so keen to promote cross-strait ties that he wants schools to make clearer that the capital of Taiwan—well, the Republic of China, anyway—is Nanjing, not Taipei (HT to Michael Turton). Which, I didn’t realize, is officially the case. What got me about this story, though, wasn’t that, but rather this:

Under Ma’s leadership, government officials’ interpretation of the nation’s status has been “absurd,” he added, citing the example of Mongolian and Tibetan Commission Minister Tsai Yu-ling (蔡玉玲), who recently said that Mongolia remains ROC territory.

I found this interesting for two reasons. One was that Taiwan actually has a Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, with a history that goes back to 1636, no less. Note the yak on the commission homepage, and the adorable avatar on the Facebook page.

The other thing that got me was, obviously, that the ROC still officially operates on the premise that Mongolia is part of China. Not that I hadn’t heard it before, mind you. That the ROC still officially claims to rule Mongolia and Mongolia officially recognizes the PRC rather than the ROC has naturally presented some problems in the bilateral relationship, but the two seem to be getting past it:

Ninety-one years after Mongolia’s first declaration of independence, Taiwan did not recognise Mongolia as an independent country; official maps of the Republic of China showed Mongolia as Chinese territory. Relations began to improve in 2002, when the Executive Yuan under a Democratic Progressive Party administration announced that Mongolian nationals would be entitled to visas rather than entry permits when travelling to Taiwan, the same as individuals from foreign countries; however, the Kuomintang-controlled Legislative Yuan criticised the implementation of the decision, as they had not been consulted.[7] Later, representatives of the two governments agreed to open offices in each other’s capitals; Taipei’s office in Ulan Bator was opened in September of that year. Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior then decided to discontinue including Mongolia on its official maps of Chinese territory, and on 3 October 2002, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Taiwan recognizes Mongolia as an independent country.[8] In 2002, the Taiwanese government excluded Mongolia from the definition of the “mainland area” for administrative purposes. In 2006, old laws regulating the formation of banners and monasteries in Outer Mongolia were repealed. However, the official borders of the Republic of China have not been changed to exclude Outer Mongolia[9] via a vote of the National Assembly (as required by the Constitution prior to 2005) or via a referendum (as required by the Constitution after amendments made in 2005). The official status of recognition is currently ambiguous, though in practice Mongolia is treated as an ordinary foreign power.

Interestingly, the ROC also claims Tuva, a Russian-ruled area best known for its throat singing, weird connection to Richard Feynman and, if you’re Mongolian, livestock rustling. What was that, you say? Could I post a video of Tuvan throat singers doing a cover of Joy Division? Why, I’d be delighted:

For a map of the world according to the Republic of China, see here. And for a recent editorial in the Taipei Times about Taiwan, Mongolia and their shared history, see here.

Speaking of things Mongolian, if you haven’t read Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj’s speech to students at Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung University at the end of October, here’s the full text at his official website. It must have raised some eyebrows, and I would have hated to be the translator. In fact, I’d be keen to see a Korean transcript of that lecture, if there is one.

Relations Between the PRC and South Korea – Not Good For Korean Security?

An interesting article made by The Diplomat points to a major reason why there will be a contentious future in store for South Korea when dealing with China:

. . . a Xinhua piece announcing the fact that South Korea and China would discuss the ADIZ at the dialogue beginning tomorrow included the same sort of assertive language used in the general ADIZ announcement: “Any airplane that fails to follow such rules will face emergency defense measures taken by the Chinese military.” This implies that China is not ready to make any exceptions for South Korea.

The article makes the point that:

. . . What should give South Korea pause over the ADIZ is the possible imposition of such zones in the future by China, something Chinese Ministry of Defense spokesman Yang Yujun claimed was in the pipes: “China will establish other Air Defense Identification Zones at the right moment after necessary preparations are completed.” A future ADIZ off the Bohai Sea and into the Yellow Sea would have serious implications for South Korean security.

Oddly enough, that Korean naval base on Chejudo and that new flock of F-35s are looking better every day.

And on the ADIZ front…

China apparently sent warplanes into its newly declared ADIZ in the East China Sea.

I don’t believe they flew over anything especially important (like the Senkakus!), as I’m sure that would have been mentioned.

Anyway, Northeast Asian ADIZ quiz—which nation has violated Korea’s ADIZ the most this year?

China?
Japan?
Botswana?

No, it’s Russia, which has violated Korea’s ADIZ 18 times this year. China has violated it thrice, and Japan just once.

Over the last five years, Russia has violated Korea’s ADIZ 64 times.

And in today’s fight against Japanese imperialism: Unhappy pivots, evil JSDF spies and not all F-35s are created equal

In today’s Korea Times, we are treated to—sit down for it—complaining, particularly about how the US pivot towards Asia is putting Korea in a tough spot because a) Korea is being forced to choose between Washington and Beijing and b) Washington isn’t putting enough pressure on the Japanese to apologize:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is thriving amid growing uncertainty in the region.

Experts say the trend is likely to continue, unless the United States reprimands Japan for denying its wartime history, for instance.

However, the U.S. engrossed in a duel with rival China can’t afford to alienate Tokyo.

Rather, it is encouraging Abe to become bolder, which he has done.

The end of the piece quotes from a recent column by Stanford’s Daniel Sneider in the WaPo calling on Washington to help Japan do the right thing and resolve its historical issues with Korea. For what it’s worth, I agree that a satisfactory resolution to historical issues between Korea and Japan would be in everybody’s interest—well, everybody’s except possibly China’s. Maybe there’s even a role the United States can play in encouraging the Japanese to be more forthcoming.

There are several problems with this, though. Firstly, Koreans are already prone to doubt the sincerity of Japanese apologies, and I’d imagine they’d be even more keen to doubt them if it appears Japan was being “forced” to apologize by America. Sure, they’d enjoy the sight of Japan being humbled, but any apology would come off as forced and insincere. Secondly, even if Washington leaned on Japan to confront its past, there’s no guarantee Tokyo would do so, especially considering that a lot of the folk driving Japanese diplomatic hamfistedness towards Korea seem to believe the only real war criminal in the Pacific was the United States.

There’s something else to the complaints, too, namely, the lack of compartmentalization. Historical issues are one thing. Declaring large swaths of the East China Sea your ADIZ is quite another. Prioritize.

Meanwhile…

Japan’s Kyodo News is reporting that Japan’s Self-Defense Force (or as we like to call it with a giggle, the jawidae) not only has spies in Korea, but has also sent them without telling the Japanese prime minister:

Japan’s Self-Defense Force operates clandestine intelligence-gathering teams in South Korea and other countries without informing its civilian government, Kyodo News reported Wednesday.

The teams are operated independently by the force without notifying the prime minister or defense minister, Kyodo quoted a former army chief and top defense intelligence official as saying, flying in the face of democratic control of the armed forces.

The force’s Ground Staff Office formed a spying team that sets up bases overseas to gather intelligence. All members undergo training in espionage and counterintelligence.

Huh. Japanese military forces operating independently of Japan’s civilian government. How could that possibly go wrong?

And finally, in the Chosun Ilbo’s gripe of the day, some ruling party lawmakers are beginning to grumble that Korea is getting a much worse deal on the F-35 than Japan. In particular, while Japan will be allowed to make most of its F-35s, Korea will be forced to import finished products from the United States.

ADIZ wars!

Hard to see how any of this is going to help maintain peace in East Asia. Then again, it wasn’t meant to (HT to Anonymous Joe):

Japan warned Sunday of the danger of “unpredictable events” and South Korea voiced regret following China’s unilateral declaration of an air defence zone over areas claimed by Tokyo and Seoul.
[...]
“We find it regretful that China’s air defence zone partly overlaps with our military’s KADIZ (Korean Air Defense Identification Zone) in the area west of Jeju Island,” said a ministry statement, according to Yonhap news agency.
[...]
The Chinese zone also includes a South Korean-controlled submerged rock that lies within the two countries’ overlapping economic zones, according to a South Korean defence ministry official quoted by the news agency.

The submerged rock in question is Ieodo, a.k.a. Socotra Rock, where Chinese surveillance flights have sharply increased this year. On the bright side, China reassures us that there’s no territorial dispute with Korea over the rock, and as far as I know, neither Korea nor China actually claim it as territory—-according to the UN Law of the Sea, submerged rocks cannot be claimed as territory. On the not-so-bright side, Ieodo features prominently in the regarding the overlap in Korea’s and China’s respective EEZs, although why the rock itself is of any importance in that, I’m not quite sure—Koh Choong-suk, president of the Society of Ieodo Research, tries to explain it here, but I’m still not sure why the rock matters. If you get it, though, please enlighten me in the comments.

Interestingly enough, Japan’s air defense zone also reportedly violates Korea’s in the water’s south of Jejudo.

The JoongAng Ilbo has a nice little map showing the competing Korean, Chinese and Japanese air defense zones in the South Korea Sea East China Sea. One interest thing to note is that Korea’s does NOT include Ieodo, although the Korean Defense Ministry is apparently considering extending the zone.

The United States, needless to say, is not happy about any of this, especially since President Obama is on record suggesting that the United States would defend Japan’s Senkaku Islands in the event of an attack. For that matter, so is the US Congress. Possibly to reaffirm this point, the USAF flew a B-52 through China’s new air defense zone and over the Senkaku Islands. Which was pretty ballsy on Obama’s part, IMHO. China, meanwhile, is sending a carrier group—or should I say the carrier group, as it’s only got one—to the South China Sea. Lovely.

I confess, stuff like this gets me a wee bit nervous, mostly because I don’t know to what extent the Chinese leadership believes its own bullshit. You’ve got Koreans, Chinese, Japanese and Americans involved in this thing now, and you pray no one does anything stupid.

Japan annoyed by plan to build statue of “criminal”; Korea, China tell Tokyo to screw off

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga—who, as we’ve seen before, is a bit of a sensitive sort—is upset that Korea wants to build a monument to Ahn Jung-geun in China:

“This is not good for Japan-South Korea relations,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said of the proposed monument to Ahn Jung-geun, a Korean independence activist who shot Hirobumi Ito, the first Japanese governor general of Korea, in 1909 in Harbin, northeastern China.

He said Ahn, regarded as a hero in South Korea and China, “is a criminal.”

The plan was revealed when South Korean President Park Geun-hye met Monday with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi in Seoul. Park expressed appreciation for China’s cooperation with the plan, according to the South Korean presidential office. Details of the plan are not yet known.

Considering that Japan considered pretty much everyone who engaged in the Korean independence movement criminals, this would seem to suggest he believes establishing monuments to any Korean nationalist leaders would be bad for Korea—Japan relations.

Well, anyway, Korea and China have told Japan to sod off:

Both Beijing and Seoul fired back almost immediately.

“Ahn Jung-geun is a very famous anti-Japanese fighter in history,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular briefing. “He is respected by the Chinese people as well. China will, in accordance with relevant regulations on memorial facilities involving foreigners, make a study to push forward relevant work.”

South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tae-young said Japan should “reflect on what kind of figure Hirobumi Ito was during Japan’s era of imperialism and militarism and what Japan did to neighbouring nations at the time”.

Expect more of this cooperation between Korea and China in the future. I’m not especially comfortable with it, and ideally, I’d like to see greater cooperation between Korea and Japan. That said, Japan doesn’t make it easy sometimes. I’m not sure what Suga hoped to gain for Japan with his statement—scoring points with some domestic lobbies, perhaps?—but as an act of diplomacy, all it does is give propaganda material to Korea and China and drive Seoul closer to Beijing at a time when Tokyo really should be working to gain an ally.

For what it’s worth, Ahn Jung-geun was a really intriguing character. And probably a more complex dude than most folk realize.

Flavour of the Month – Space Invaders

space_invaders

Regarding shooting down Chinese drones that fly through Japanese airspace . . .

There are concerns that China is attempting to change the status quo by force, rather than by rule of law. But if China opts to take that path, then it won’t be able to emerge peacefully, . . . so it shouldn’t take that path, and many nations expect Japan to strongly express that view. And they hope that as a result, China will take responsible action in the international community.

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe

“If Japan does resort to enforcement measures like shooting down aircraft (Chinese drones), that is a serious provocation to us, an act of war.”

PRC Defense Ministry

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