Rival parties expressed concern Friday over what they called the government’s reluctance to lodge a stronger response to Japan’s pursuit of collective self-defense, as the Foreign Ministry explained the matter required patience.
The members of the Special Committee on the Prevention of the Distortion of Northeast Asian History grilled First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kyou-Hyun who was attending in place of Minister Yun Byung-se to explain the government’s policy toward Japan’s increasingly active defense policies.
In a rare instance of left-right unity, members of both the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic Party criticized the Park Geun-hye administration for adopting a relatively quiet stance on the issue.
“Simply responding to Japan’s policies as they come about only implies that we are in reality leaving them free to do what they wish,” said Saenuri Rep. Lee Sang-il.
“Is the Abe administration’s new active pacifism not Japan’s old Greater East Asia Co-prosperity sphere in disguise? I worry Japan has hidden intentions behind their new policies,” Lee added in reference to Japan’s World War II propaganda slogans.
DP representatives chipped in.
“It seems as if the government is saying that Japan’s new defense policies are none of Korea’s business,” said DP Rep. Park Hong-keun.
Kim pleaded for patience, however, citing the innate complexity of Northeast Asian security relations.
“We have been utilizing various channels to communicate our government’s heightened worries over Japan’s new defense initiatives. But because the U.S. has implicitly endorsed Japan’s collective self-defense and both Japanese-American and South Korean-American relations imply many things at the same time, I unfortunately cannot give you a clear straightforward answer on this matter.”
By Jeong Hunny (firstname.lastname@example.org