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Japan, Korea, China squabbles

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South Korea on Thursday returned a personal letter sent to President Lee Myung Bak by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda over Lee's recent visit to the Takeshima islands and his remarks about the Emperor.

According to the Yonhap news agency, the South Korean government returned the letter via registered mail after Japan's Foreign Ministry refused to let a South Korean Embassy official enter the ministry to return the letter.

South Korea's returning the letter is quite unusual in terms of diplomatic protocol, and will likely further strain relations between the two countries.

In the letter, Noda expressed regret over Lee's recent visit to the Takeshima islands and his remarks seeking an apology from the Emperor to victims of Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula before and during World War II.

Noda sent the letter to Seoul through the the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo on Aug. 17.

On Wednesday, a South Korean government source said the reason Seoul decided to reject Noda's personal letter is that the contents of the letter were "not true"--Lee has visited "Dokdo" and not "Takeshima," the source said.

The Takeshima islands are known as Dokdo in South Korea.

According to the Yonhap news agency, a senior official of the South Korean presidential office said, "It makes no sense to reply to comments that are not true."

The news agency said the South Korean government has discussed other ways to deal with Noda's letter, such as making no reaction to it or rebutting Noda's remarks in a return letter. However, after consulting experts in international law and diplomacy, the South Korean government decided to stray from diplomatic protocol.

The news agency quoted a South Korean government source as saying: "Even if our response [to Japan] is seen as diplomatically rude, there is no reason to change our principles on this matter. If we see this issue from the other side, Japan also has gone against diplomatic protocol in sending [Noda's] personal letter."

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura expressed concern over the issue. "Regarding diplomatic protocol, I can't think of a letter sent from a national leader to another leader being returned," he said at a press conference Thursday morning.

A senior Foreign Ministry official said, "The fact that South Korea has decided to take an unusual step in response [to Noda's letter] may prove that the nation is shocked by Japan's objections [to Lee's remarks and actions]."

 

Almost comes across as childish playground squabbles doesn't it?

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It goes back 60 years, to the San Francisco peace treaty and end of the Allied occupation of Japan.

Lot of background on Wikipedia if you're very very bored...

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Ah! Think last year Shimane Prefecture -- Takeshima falls under Shimane -- made some kind of declaration or something that got folks in Seoul out of joint.

This spat crops up every now and then when some hotheads on one side or another decide relations are proceeding too smoothly.

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There seems to be a lot of anger in China right now.

I can see this flying out of control.

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It's more like adolescent angst.... Where's that good old communism?....with the bullet tap to the back of the head.

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Wonder how this will affect Chinese tourism to Japan?

 

Already been things on tv regarding lots of cancellations.

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Sounds like there's 1000 boats full of sightseers on their way to those small islands! Good tourism numbers them.

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Muslims uprising over a really really bad obscure youtube video.....and China over some rocks in the middle of nowhere....

 

How about everybody just get back to work..

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I reckon there might just be some underlying anger and issues in there that makes it more than just about youtube clips and rocks, Chriselle.

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Wonder how this will affect Chinese tourism to Japan?

 

Already been things on tv regarding lots of cancellations.

 

Friend of mine works at a place in the Fuji area and said that it has already affected them.

Not heard anything from around here yet, but if it continues I would guess it will.

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I reckon there might just be some underlying anger and issues in there that makes it more than just about youtube clips and rocks, Chriselle.

 

No need to reckon.....it has nothing to do with videos and rocks. Next week it'll be something else they have to throw rocks, fist pump and fire their AK47's in the air about. Just get a f#$%ing job, take care of your family and call it a day.

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Through out all this though....I can't help to think of the awesome timing of the sale of the islands to the Japanese government. If I was the "owner" who just got paid I'd be ..... :clap: :groovy: :cheers:

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Thing is, how can this end? Both sides are mad proud, both sides think they are right, can't see either backing down.

 

Cheers Ishihara, we really needed this right now.

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It has started to be mentioned on the news here.

 

They were even discussing the possibility of a "Japan - China war".

 

CHINA and other Asian countries could end up at war over territorial disputes if governments keep up their "provocative behaviour", US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said.

 

Speaking to reporters before arriving in Tokyo on a trip to Asia, Mr Panetta appealed for restraint amid mounting tensions over territorial rights in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.

 

"I am concerned that when these countries engage in provocations of one kind or another over these various islands, that it raises the possibility that a misjudgment on one side or the other could result in violence, and could result in conflict," Mr Panetta said, when asked about a clash between Japan and China.

 

"And that conflict would then have the potential of expanding."

 

The Pentagon chief's trip coincides with an escalating row between Asia's two largest economies over an archipelago in the East China Sea administered by Tokyo under the name Senkaku and claimed by China under the name Diaoyu.

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Thing is, how can this end? Both sides are mad proud, both sides think they are right, can't see either backing down.

 

Cheers Ishihara, we really needed this right now.

 

Take it to international arbitration. Sorted.

 

China and Taiwan have only taken an active interest in these islands since oil and gas were discovered there. Before then, they couldn't have given a damn about them.

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Should be interesting to see what happens when 1000 Chinese fishing boats pit themselves agaisnt a small number of Japanese coast guard (or SDF?) ships.

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