INTRODUCTION : a brief overview of the current situation regarding the security issue in the Pacific region
Since the end of the Second World War, the shape of the relations between the nations in the Pacific region has stayed more or less the same way until the present. However, there has been one big changed that affected the situation in the Pacific region and it was the outbreak of the Korean war and the creation of a Communist North Korea. This brought a huge inevitable change in relations between countries in the region. The stability that was brought about with the end of the Second World War disappeared and a new type of tension appeared. This especially affected the relations between the Korea and Japan to a great extent. In the past few years, the two countries have been seeking cooperation for the common aim of keeping the security in the Pacific region but things did not always work out fine due to many reasons including the historic background of two countries. In this paper, the historical background, the chronology of main events, the development of the relations and the current situation regarding the security and cultural issues, between Korea and Japan will be examined and analysed, which will be followed by a conclusion.
THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The relations between and Korea and Japan has a long history. The first exchange of goods and information between the two goes back to the era of Three Countries and since then the relations between the two developed both in good and bad ways until now.
There has always been lack of balance of power between the two nations. Back in thousands of years ago, Korea was the one that had more power and helped Japan develop her culture and since the late Chosun era, Japan has been the more powerful one. Conflicts between Korea and Japan continued and the ill feelings towards each other reached the top when Japan colonized Korea. As a result, the history of the Korea-Japan relations is full of conflicts and ill feelings towards each other and even during the time of temporary peace for the 2002 World Cup, small diplomatic conflicts continue.
(a) December 18, 1965: Normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and the Republic of Korea
(b) Number of Japanese in the Republic of Korea: 15,217 persons (as of October 1 1999; 14,648 long-term residents, 569 permanent residents)
(c) Number of Koreans in Japan: 636,000 persons (as of December 1 1999; includes North Koreans in Japan)
(a) Republic of Korea’s trade with Japan
Trade figures (1999 Korean customs base)
*Exports: $15.86 billion (textile products, electric machinery, metal products, oil products, machinery)
*Imports: $24.14 billion (electric machinery, machinery, metal products, precesion machinery, chemical products, light industry products)
(b) Direct investment from Japan: $175 million (1999)
(http://www.mofa.go.jp/stats.html, 27 May 2002)
DEVELOPMENTS IN CULTURAL AND DISPLMATIC RELATIONS
The cooperative relationship between Japan and the ROK is vital to the peace and prosperity of East Asia, and particularly essential in advancing policy on North Korea. Through the visit to Japan by ROK President Kim Dae Jung in 1998, as well as the ROK visit by Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi in 1999, the two nations put the issues of the past behind them and have been working to build “a relationship between countries with a close geographical and diplomatic relationship.” As in 1999, 2000 saw the development of wide-ranging exchange based on the Japan-Republic of Korea Joint Declaration: A New Japan-Republic of Korea Partnership towards the Twenty-first Century, signed in 1998, and its annexed action plan, with bilateral cooperation further reinforced toward the development of future-oriented relations. In addition, the opening of the ROK to Japanese culture which has been proceeding under President Kim Dae Jung moved even further ahead, with the great popularity of film screenings and performances of popular songs in both countries marking the start of a new era in Japan-ROK cultural exchange.
Japan, a brief history (Yamaoto Shinji)Words
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