Japan Focus republished an April op-ed by South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun today. Choice quotes:
- “[T]he Europeans, befitting of a people who invented democracy based on rational thought, are writing a new history based on the lessons learned from their long string of wars. …”Many scholars define the 19th century as the Age of Europe, the 20th century the Age of the Atlantic, and predict the 21st century will be the Age of the Pacific or Northeast Asia. I do not agree with this description. While we have seen the gravity of economic and productive power shift from Europe toward the Atlantic, and more recently to Northeast Asia, such a shift does not necessarily put Northeast Asia at the heart of world civilization.
“… I believe that the EU is still at the center of world civilization because it has been shaping an order of co-existence through peaceful and cooperative means.” (Emphasis mine.)
- “I had hoped and believed that Japan would act decisively to resolve the burden of its wartime history through an appeal to its own conscience and rational wisdom. Thus, I chose not to raise this subject as an official agenda or issue during my earlier summit talks with my Japanese counterpart. My goodwill was not answered. On the contrary, Japan undertook a series of actions to justify its grim history of wartime aggression by paying tribute to the Yasukuni Shrine, distorting and airbrushing history textbooks, claiming territorial sovereignty over Korea’s Dokdo islets, and denying that the Japanese Imperial Army forced huge number of Asian women into sexual slavery during World War II.”
- “Efforts need to be made to foster the creation of a regional community of peace and prosperity, outlined in the following:”First, we need to create a new regional order for economic cooperation and integration. Although economic interdependence among Korea, China and Japan has intensified in recent years, the countries have not been able to institutionalize economic integration, even in the most rudimentary form, namely, a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). …
“Second, we need to forge a regime for multilateral security cooperation in Northeast Asia. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which helped bring down the Cold War wall of distrust and laid the foundation for an integrated Europe, provides a valuable lesson for multilateral security cooperation in this region.”