Grappling on a Hillside

Author
David C. Kang, Jiun Bang
Content Type
Journal Article
Journal
Comparative Connections
Volume
14
Issue Number
2
Publication Date
September 2012
Institution
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Abstract
Diplomatic disputes between Korea and Japan over historical issues and territory flared yet again this summer, being by far the most serious row since the mid - 2000s. With both sides focused far more on proving the others' misdeeds than on finding some stable equilibrium, the disputes threatened to spill over and affect economic relations as well as distract leaders from focusing on a number of pressing domestic and foreign issues. We try to avoid overreactions in this forum, hence the title. Korea - Japan relations are nowhere near falling off a cliff, but without stabilizing relations, there are potential deleterious bilateral and regional effects that could result from the current disputes. There were three underlying themes that characterized and reinforced the general lack of rapport: first, the reverberations from these bilateral disputes onto third parties (US, China, and North Korea); second, the domestic sources of foreign policy (known as the “ second - image ” in international relations theory); and third , deliberate moves toward negative issue - linkage in stymieing diplomatic relations in the region.
Political Geography
United States, Japan, China, North Korea, Korea