潘国連事務総長 資質問われる偏向「介入」発言

The Yomiuri Shimbun August 29, 2013
Ban’s bias on history issues incompatible with U.N. post
潘国連事務総長 資質問われる偏向「介入」発言(8月28日付・読売社説)

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s recent remarks are unbelievable.

“I think Japanese political leaders need to profoundly reflect on how to perceive history to maintain good-neighborly relations in a future-oriented way, and a vision to look ahead into the global future,” Ban said at a press conference at the South Korean Foreign Ministry on Monday.

He made the remarks in response to a question from a South Korean reporter who asked about the United Nations’ view and his own view as U.N. secretary general with regard to the confrontation between Japan and China and South Korea on the perception of history and territorial issues as well as Japan’s moves to revise the Constitution.

Ban is a veteran diplomat who served as foreign minister under the administration of former South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun. However, as U.N. secretary general, he is obliged to remain neutral and fair, refraining from siding with any particular country.

He did not refer to South Korean and Chinese politicians. By restricting his remarks to Japanese politicians, people around the world may believe Japan is the cause of frictions in Northeast Asia. It is obvious his remarks were one-sided and problematic.

Customarily, a U.N. secretary general speaks at a press conference in English or French, two of the United Nations’ official languages, but Ban spoke in Korean throughout most of the press conference. This is extremely unusual.

Ban implicitly demanded that Japan correct its view of history, saying a country only can earn respect and trust from other nations through a correct recognition of history.

Parroting Seoul’s stance

His remarks echo what South Korea has been saying. Seoul has relentlessly demanded that Japan face up to its prewar history by saying it should “have a correct recognition of history.” Ban’s comment therefore supports South Korea. The secretary general, who is supposed to mediate international disputes and conflicts, should not openly fan confrontation.

History cannot be neatly packaged under the term “correct recognition.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshi-hide Suga said, “I strongly wonder whether Secretary General Ban made the remarks while considering Japan’s position.” He cited Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s remark, “It’s necessary for leaders to exchange opinions to maintain regional peace and stability.” It was natural for him to raise objections.

The Japanese government needs to confirm Ban’s real intentions and to actively convey Japan’s position at such places as the United Nations so that its stance will not be misunderstood around the world.

For nearly 70 years since the end of World War II, Japan has consistently made efforts to promote world peace and prosperity. How does Ban evaluate Japan’s postwar history?

The Japan-South Korea Basic Relations Treaty of 1965 is an established international agreement that defines the bilateral relationship between the two countries after World War II. Even though the issue of compensation rights has been resolved, South Korea keeps raking over the issue of reparations for former forced laborers and on the issue of so-called comfort women.

Ban, as an official of the international organization, should inform Seoul that South Korea’s common sense is irrational in other parts of the world.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 28, 2013)
(2013年8月28日02時13分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2013-08-30 07:20 | 英字新聞

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