Russel says world can't afford Seoul-Tokyo tensions

By 신용배
  • Published : Jan 16, 2014 - 08:11
  • Updated : Jan 16, 2014 - 08:11

 The Obama administration's top Asia hand said stand-offs between South Korea and Japan, as well as tensions between China and Japan, threaten the international community, strapped with a fragile economy.

   On a trip to Europe, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel said strained ties between the world's second-and third-largest economies, China and Japan, are something that the world can't afford.

   "By the same token, (South) Korea and Japan are two leading economies and two leading democracies in the Asia-Pacific region.

For Japan and Korea to be at odds is something that the region and the world can't afford," he said at a media roundtable in Brussels earlier this week, according to a related video.

   It was Russel's first formal comment on Seoul-Tokyo relations since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid tribute to a controversial war shrine in Tokyo last month.

   The major Northeast Asian nations are stuck in longstanding territorial and history disputes, largely attributable to Japan's wartime past during the last century.

   Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine has deepened anger among Korean and Chinese people.

   Russel said it is "unfortunate that tensions and bad feelings have risen to current levels."

   The veteran diplomat said it is a matter to be resolved by the governments and the people concerned.

   The U.S. government, however, maintains close and intensive consultations with the relevant nations.

   "We make our views known and we urge each party to exercise care, restraint and good judgment," he said.

   On North Korea, Russel said North Korea's leaders should realize that denuclearization is the only path toward the security and prosperity they claim to seek.

   They need to know that the path they are currently on is a "dead end," added Russel.

   "So, it's our hope that North Korean leaders will come quickly to the realization that no threat, no bluster, no provocation will bring them security," he said.  (Yonhap News)