Both of you to the corner!
Too bad that won't work for nations. Tension is growing between Japan and South Korea over a group of islets(small islands. I had to look this up) in the Sea of Japan/East Sea. Japan is sending out a mapping expedition and the ROK has countered by sending a flotilla of ships.
This all seems to be rather silly. A group of barely inhabited islands(South Korea sent a young couple there recently making TFM wonder exactly how many people live there. Is this an island or a rock that surfaces when the tide is out ?) has these two regional powers shaking fists at one another. I don't think it will come to war, and I pray it doesn't. It seems nationalism is at play here. The ROK still resents Japan's occupation of the Korean peninsula last century. I don't blame the Korean people. Japan sees the ROK as an economic rival. It don't matter, may calm heads prevail. No one will benefit from any hostilities and these rocks aren't worth any loss of life.
Open Post- Rhymes with Right, Liberal Wrong Wing, Adam's Blog,
TOKYO, April 19 -- A long-simmering dispute over a group of islets escalated sharply Wednesday, with South Korea dispatching a flotilla of 20 patrol ships toward the territory as the Japanese coast guard sought to conduct an official survey in surrounding waters.
The South Korean move came as Japan rejected a warning from Seoul and vowed to forge ahead with a six-week mapping expedition aimed at bolstering Tokyo's legal claims to the rocky outcroppings controlled by South Korea. Enraged officials in Seoul put their maritime forces on high alert and strongly suggested they would use force if necessary to prevent two Japanese ships from entering waters claimed by South Korea. The islets, located between the two countries, are known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese.
President Roh Moo Hyun called an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss South Korea's options and denounced Japan's move as an "offensive provocation." Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon warned that South Korea would "act sternly" and was preparing "countermeasures for all scenarios."
Most analysts dismissed the notion that the two East Asian powers would come into direct military conflict over the islets, but at the very least, the intensifying dispute poses new challenges for the United States. The latest events dramatically widened a growing diplomatic breach between Washington's two biggest allies in the region at a time when they are struggling to present a united front on China's military rise and North Korea's nuclear belligerence.
The tensions also underscored the broader frictions between Japan and its neighbors as Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has taken a more assertive stance on a series of issues, including territorial claims dating to Tokyo's long military buildup before World War II.
Both South Korea and China have expressed outrage at the recasting of history textbooks here to support Japan's long-held territorial claims and allegedly whitewash its past aggression. On Wednesday, South Korean politicians said they would insist on linking resolution of the islet dispute to what they condemned as a pattern of resurgent militarism by Japan.
Shinzo Abe, Koizumi's chief cabinet secretary, called for understanding and dialogue to resolve the islet dispute. Japanese media reports indicated the two expedition ships were still lingering off Japan's coast late Wednesday evening, but Abe insisted Japan would not back down and was acting within its legal rights.
"We expect that the survey will be conducted peacefully with both sides dealing with it in a levelheaded manner," Abe told reporters in Tokyo.
One Japanese official familiar with the situation said the decision to launch the mission was made after a South Korean government Web site announced plans to present Korean names for underwater geological formations in the contested area during a maritime conference in Germany in June. Japan is likely to use data from the surveying operation to support alternative names.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Japanese vessels were not expected to directly approach the islets and were likely to confine themselves to surrounding waters.
The Japanese public has yet to pay much attention to the dispute. But in South Korea, it has taken on huge nationalistic proportions.
Both nations maintain centuries-old claims to the area, which is coveted for fishing rights. But the South Koreans view Japan's 1905 move to enforce its control over the islets as a precursor to its invasion and 35-year occupation of the Korean Peninsula, from 1910 to 1945.
As Japan has stepped up its claims, the South Koreans have grown furious, increasing their police presence on the outcroppings and allowing a dutiful young South Korean couple to move there. "Save Dokdo," a video game in which players wipe out a merciless battalion of Japanese invaders, has become a hit in South Korea.
South Korea and Japan are additionally locked in a testy diplomatic battle over the name of the body of water surrounding the islets -- called the Sea of Japan by Tokyo and the East Sea by Seoul. Citing territorial and other disputes, Roh has repeatedly refused offers for a summit with Koizumi in Japan.