South Korea, Japan Renew Ties At Tokyo 'Fence-Mending' Summit

Image copyright: Yonhap/EFE-EPA/Shutterstock [via The Wall Street Journal]

The Facts

  • South Korean Pres. Yoon Suk Yeol on Thursday met with his Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, in Tokyo for a summit to repair historically strained relations.

  • They agreed to restore "shuttle diplomacy" and expand cooperation in several areas, such as Seoul's proposal to settle a dispute over wartime labor and Kishida vowing to adhere to the 1998 declaration expressing "deep remorse" for Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula.

The Spin

Narrative A

Historical disputes between Seoul and Tokyo will not cease overnight as they are rooted deeply in both nations, so this summit means little in the improvement of their relationship. If Yoon insists on bowing to the US-Japan strategy of creating a strong, unified front against China, he will risk infuriating domestic public opinion and sacrificing his country's national interests only to serve as a pawn in the destabilization of Asia.

Narrative B

Despite their long-standing controversies, Japan and South Korea have no other option than to ease tensions as they face mounting threats from North Korea and a rising China. The two like-minded democratic nations have many incentives to deepen their cooperation, which is vital to counter the growing influence of violent, authoritarian countries in the region.

Metaculus Prediction

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