[EDITORIALS]What’s at stake in TokyoA meeting between the leaders of South Korea and Japan will be held today. It is meaningful that the leaders of these countries, which have long historical ties, should meet as Northeast Asia reaches a historical turning point. The meeting will be watched inside and outside Korea and Japan, as it follows a series of meetings among leaders of countries surrounding the Korean Peninsula.
The two leaders will discuss such issues as the North Korean nuclear program, a South Korea-Japan free-trade agreement and ways to expand personnel exchanges between the two countries. All the agenda items deal with issues that will influence the whole Northeast Asian region; the mutual interests of South Korea and Japan are interlocked. Finding solutions will not be easy.
In Asia, South Korea and Japan are the model countries for successful democracy and market economy. If both parties start from this common ideological foundation, they can work out a future-oriented solution.
Special attention is laid on coordinating policy on the North Korean nuclear program. Both countries must agree on realistic measures, under the principles of not allowing the nuclearization of North Korea while pursuing a peaceful resolution, that will prevent North Korea from aggravating the situation and causing catastrophe. They should also resolve it with long-term, peaceful and future-oriented perspectives. They can show the world that the solution will contribute to the prosperity and development of Northeast Asia.
The two leaders should shed the unhappy history of the past and bring vision and faith for future development. They should untie the knot of the past. People of both nations will welcome it. As the Korean president decided to visit Japan on the national Memorial Day, despite opposition in Korea, and declared that he would not mention issues related to past history or to Japan’s adoption of military readiness bills, Japan must show genuine self-reflection on its historical wrongdoing.
The two leaders must open a 21st century in which the peace and development of Northeast Asia are guaranteed.