By Invitation

Japan-S. Korea ties: When the past holds the present and future hostage

America can help ease the strain between its feuding East Asian allies but ultimately it depends on the leaders in Tokyo and Seoul to break the grip of history

The US can help ease the strain but ultimately it depends on the leaders in Tokyo and Seoul to break the grip of history, says the writer. PHOTO: AFP
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Last month, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman hosted the vice-foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea in Washington. The apparent purpose of this trilateral meeting was to highlight the progress made by the Biden administration in improving the relationships among these three governments. The meeting, however, failed to transcend the ongoing conflicts between Tokyo and Seoul.

At the post-meeting press conference, designed to display solidarity, Ms Sherman was alone on stage. Both Japanese Vice-Foreign Minister Takeo Mori and South Korea's First Vice-Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun refused to participate as each protested against the actions of the other's government.

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