[ED] Bad deal over Korea

Settings

ⓕ font-size

  • -2
  • -1
  • 0
  • +1
  • +2

[ED] Bad deal over Korea

US should reconsider including Japan in UN Command

The United States is apparently seeking to give Japan an expanded role in times of military conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

This is utterly unthinkable to the Korean government and people as a whole because the country was a colony of Japan from 1910 to 1945, and there are still unresolved issues stemming from the brutal colonial rule.

More importantly, the U.S. move may boost Japan's military ambitions, which have become more vivid under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, although it primarily targets China, Russia and North Korea.

Allowing Japan to participate in a future Korean conflict seems to be part of a broader plan to strengthen the role of the U.S.-led United Nations Command (UNC) after the U.S. completes the transfer of wartime operational control to South Korea, possibly in 2022.

But the issue concerning Japan has been contentious at recent bilateral military consultative meetings between South Korea and the U.S., officials here say.

Dismayingly, the U.S. allegedly wants to include Japan as a member of the UNC, which directs multilateral engagement on the peninsula in the event of crisis.

If this happens, Japan can send troops to the peninsula under the U.N. flag if an armed conflict breaks out.

Given Abe is seeking to rebuild Japan as a country that can invade another country through a constitutional revision, it is hardly understandable that the U.S. is making room for Japan without enough considerations of what Tokyo's military expansion means to Seoul.

In this year's Strategic Digest, an annual booklet the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) publishes for its soldiers stationed in Korea, the USFK said the UNC "continues to ensure the support and force flow through Japan that would be necessary in times of crisis," while explaining functions of the UNC. It was the first time the annual publication included explanations about Japan's role in a possible conflict in Korea.

The UNC already has "rear" bases in Japan, which would be mobilized in the event of a crisis in Korea. "The UNC-Rear's specially selected cadre of international officers, led by an Australian colonel, is responsible for maintaining access to seven strategically designated U.N.-flagged bases in Japan," the booklet said.

Recently, the UNC named a Canadian lieutenant general its deputy commander ― the first non-U.S. officer to hold that post. According to the Hankook Ilbo, the sister paper of The Korea Times, Thursday, the U.S. recently asked Germany to send an officer to the UNC without prior consultations with South Korea. Germany initially decided to do so, believing the dispatch of its officer had been agreed on with South Korea, but dropped the plan after receiving a request from Seoul to do so, the report showed.

What is embarrassing for South Korea is that Japan and Germany, which are U.S. allies, are not UNC members. The UNC is comprised of 18 nations that fought for the defense of South Korea during the 1950-53 conflict. Sixteen nations, excluding South Korea and the U.S., are committed to sending troops to the peninsula in times of crisis as "UNC Sending States."

The alleged move to allow Japan to participate in future Korean conflicts could inflame public sentiment here amid renewed historical tensions with Tokyo.


US should reconsider including Japan in UN Command

The United States is apparently seeking to give Japan an expanded role in times of military conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

This is utterly unthinkable to the Korean government and people as a whole because the country was a colony of Japan from 1910 to 1945, and there are still unresolved issues stemming from the brutal colonial rule.

More importantly, the U.S. move may boost Japan's military ambitions, which have become more vivid under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, although it primarily targets China, Russia and North Korea.

Allowing Japan to participate in a future Korean conflict seems to be part of a broader plan to strengthen the role of the U.S.-led United Nations Command (UNC) after the U.S. completes the transfer of wartime operational control to South Korea, possibly in 2022.

But the issue concerning Japan has been contentious at recent bilateral military consultative meetings between South Korea and the U.S., officials here say.

Dismayingly, the U.S. allegedly wants to include Japan as a member of the UNC, which directs multilateral engagement on the peninsula in the event of crisis.

If this happens, Japan can send troops to the peninsula under the U.N. flag if an armed conflict breaks out.

Given Abe is seeking to rebuild Japan as a country that can invade another country through a constitutional revision, it is hardly understandable that the U.S. is making room for Japan without enough considerations of what Tokyo's military expansion means to Seoul.

In this year's Strategic Digest, an annual booklet the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) publishes for its soldiers stationed in Korea, the USFK said the UNC "continues to ensure the support and force flow through Japan that would be necessary in times of crisis," while explaining functions of the UNC. It was the first time the annual publication included explanations about Japan's role in a possible conflict in Korea.

The UNC already has "rear" bases in Japan, which would be mobilized in the event of a crisis in Korea. "The UNC-Rear's specially selected cadre of international officers, led by an Australian colonel, is responsible for maintaining access to seven strategically designated U.N.-flagged bases in Japan," the booklet said.

Recently, the UNC named a Canadian lieutenant general its deputy commander ― the first non-U.S. officer to hold that post. According to the Hankook Ilbo, the sister paper of The Korea Times, Thursday, the U.S. recently asked Germany to send an officer to the UNC without prior consultations with South Korea. Germany initially decided to do so, believing the dispatch of its officer had been agreed on with South Korea, but dropped the plan after receiving a request from Seoul to do so, the report showed.

What is embarrassing for South Korea is that Japan and Germany, which are U.S. allies, are not UNC members. The UNC is comprised of 18 nations that fought for the defense of South Korea during the 1950-53 conflict. Sixteen nations, excluding South Korea and the U.S., are committed to sending troops to the peninsula in times of crisis as "UNC Sending States."

The alleged move to allow Japan to participate in future Korean conflicts could inflame public sentiment here amid renewed historical tensions with Tokyo.




LETTER

Sign up for eNewsletter