Beijing as Tokyo-Seoul mediator

Kaneohe, Hawaii

Regarding Ralph Cossa’s Sept. 8 article “Tokyo-Seoul : enough is enough!“: As a frequent caustic critic of Cossa’s views, it is only fair that I congratulate him on his wise and heartfelt insights in this article. Of course, I do have a few quibbles — such as that his main concern about deteriorating South Korea-Japan relations seems to be the potential damage to “U.S. security” — rather than the negative effect on the people of these countries and on peace and stability in the region. Also, to my knowledge, this is the first time Cossa has tacitly admitted publicly that North Korea would defeat South Korea without U.S. and Japanese support.

As for his suggestion that the United States mediate this dispute, this would be a no-win situation for the U.S. No matter what it recommended, one or both would likely be offended and blame the U.S. for their “humiliation.”

But as Cossa implies, “something has got to give.” Thinking outside the box, perhaps China could be asked to mediate as it essentially did at one stage between the U.S. and North Korea.

Yes, China has similar island disputes with both Japan and South Korea. Mediating this dispute could enhance China’s stature and build trust for it in the region, as well as introduce it to the complexities of such issues and the third-party mediation process.

China would also be taking on a diplomatic can of worms that would test its patience and negotiating skills.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

mark valencia