September 10, 2013
WELL, THAT’S QUITE SENSIBLE: Poll Shows South Koreans Worry About Norks & China More Than Japan.
Since Shinzo Abe entered office, Japan and South Korea haven’t gotten along. His administration’s nationalism and hawkishness, as well as its apparent blindness to the suffering of Japan’s colonial subjects in the past century, have certainly taken a toll on the official relationship. The clearest sign that all was not warm and fuzzy was new South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s decision to make Beijing, rather than the customary Tokyo and Washington, the destination for her first official trip abroad.
But what do ordinary Koreans think about the relationship with Japan? If a new poll by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a Korean think tank, is to be believed, the Korean public is more willing than its leadership to mend fences with Japan.
Well more than half (58 percent) of South Koreans, the poll found, would support a presidential summit between Seoul and Tokyo. Slightly more (60 percent) say a military communication agreement, which South Korea canceled after advanced discussions in 2012, should be signed. And South Koreans support both of these positions without preconditions such as Japan’s giving ground on territorial disputes or apologizing for historical wrongs. That suggests that South Koreans are still more spooked by the Norks and by China than by big bad Abe.
I mean, I would be too.