[FOUNTAIN]UN proposal loses appeal with time

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[FOUNTAIN]UN proposal loses appeal with time

In the United Nations, China has put Japan into a corner as Tokyo hopes to become a permanent member of an expanded Security Council. It seemed in April that the resolution that would open a way for Japan, Germany, Brazil and India to get into the Security Council would easily garner support from two-thirds of the UN member nations.
However, when the draft for the resolution was introduced May 16, supporters of the four nations began backing off, and so the vote on the resolution has been postponed more than once. It was to take place June 20, but it might be put off to the end of June, and now Japan wants the vote in July.
At first, the nations formerly known as the “Coffee Club” led the opposition. The Coffee Club has dropped that informal name and is now operating under the banner of “Uniting for Consensus.” The group had a meeting at the United Nations, and its representatives delivered its position to other nations.
But surprisingly, it was China that struck the decisive blow. It offered to back Korea, and China was most active in sending envoys to deliver its opposition. On the surface, China stresses the need for more discussion, but what it really wants is to hinder Japan’s ambition.
While Korea and Italy, the key members of the Uniting for Consensus group, have sent envoys to 20 to 30 nations, China has sent delegates to more than 70 countries. As China and Uniting for Consensus joined forces, the United States, which had supported Japan, suggested postponing the discussion to September.
It is obvious why China is actively opposing Japan. It has strategically decided that it is better to discourage Japan now than exercise its veto. However, China’s opposition is rooted in history: It asks how Japan could represent Asia without repenting of its imperialism, and Korea has the very same argument.
A tainted past is an obstacle for an individual and a nation alike. Nevertheless, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is still obsessed with visiting the Yasukuni Shrine and the education minister makes absurd and insulting comments. It is hard to imagine what Japan is thinking.


by Ahn Sung-kyoo

The writer is a deputy political news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.

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