Thursday, May 18, 2006

If Ban wants to be UN Secretary-General, he'd better listen

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, visiting Tokyo, is telling Japan and Korea to stop acting like children over the Tokto/Dokdo/Takeshima/Liancourt Rocks issue.

Not quite in those words, but he did tell Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that Seoul and Tokyo need to improve their strained ties resulting from the spat over the islets in the East Sea/Sea of Japan.

Annan said he discussed with Koizumi "about Korea-Japan relationships and the need to reduce tensions and improve relations." He urged the two countries to hold talks to resolve their differences on the land issue, which nearly came close to turning nasty last month when Japan sent two survey ships to the disputed islets. From the article:
In some ways Mr. Annan, whose Asia trip may be his last as UN head, is approaching east Asia like a marriage counselor. He will meet all three heads of state (including China), has said the three nations are neighbors "bound to live together," and that a crucial need is to be "truthful to history" in order to avoid past crimes and mistakes.
Annan described the ties between Tokyo and Seoul as "important" not only for the region but for the whole world, and said he got the impression during his earlier visit to Seoul that the South Korean side has not closed doors for negotiation.

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