UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

South Korea drops description of Japan as 'partner' in latest defense paper

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 02 February 2021 7:07 PM

South Korea's Defense Ministry has dropped its description of Japan as a "partner" in its latest defense white paper, as differences between the two neighbors have continued to deepen over a range of issues in recent years.

The paper, published on Tuesday, stated that the two countries were "close neighbors that should cooperate for peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia and the world."

A ministry official in a briefing said the decision to call Japan a "neighbor" and stop at that was "reasonable."

In the previous white paper, published two years ago, South Korea and Japan were described as "geographically and culturally close neighbors as well as partners cooperating for global peace and prosperity."

The latest white paper also accused Japan of stalemating ties with South Korea by making "unilateral announcements that misrepresented facts" about such issues as Japan's claim to a pair of South Korean-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan and a 2018 close encounter between a Japanese surveillance plane and a South Korean destroyer.

Tokyo-Seoul relations have long been difficult due to Japan's colonization of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

Relations between Tokyo and Seoul have plunged in recent years over a feud stemming from the 2018 South Korean Supreme Court rulings that ordered Japanese companies to compensate its nationals for forced labor during Japan's colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula.

Also in 2019, South Korea blasted Japan as "selfish nuisance" after Tokyo removed Seoul from its list of top trading partners, amid an escalating trade dispute linked to persisting historical tensions.

South Korea and Japan — both staunch allies of the United States despite being top victims of American military atrocities during World War II and the Korean War — are key trade partners and share other common interests, including against what they perceive as a threat from North Korea's growing nuclear and missile advancements.

Meanwhile, South Korea's description of North Korea in the white paper remained unchanged from a previous one, which deleted the word "enemy" to reflect an improvement in inter-Korean relations.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list