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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 13:19 04/21/2008
News Review #442: April 21, 2008

Japan, South Korea Resume Summit Talks, Discuss North Korea, Bilateral Issues

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Japan, South Korea Resume Summit Talks, Discuss North Korea, Bilateral Issues
International Herald Tribune (4/21/2008)


It is reported in the IHT article linked above that South Korea's new President Lee Myung-bak is now visiting Japan to resume the first official summit talk between Japan and South Korea since 2005. Both Prime Minister Fukuda and President Lee are emphasizing the importance of their meeting to "open a new era in Japan-South Korea relations," especially concerning international issues such as North Korea's nuclear disarmament and expanding bilateral exchanges between the two economies. This is certainly a refreshing development in Japan-South Korea relations after several years of ambivalence and antagonism under the previous leaders in the both nations.

However, we need to recognize the fact that these two leaders, although newly appointed, have already been losing popular support in their respective countries. Actually, their popular approval ratings are so low that even their own party members are beginning to worry about the effectiveness of the current administration in policymaking. This means that, whatever they agree on this time, there would be no assurance that their agreements could be approved and implemented through legislative processes. Even worse, at least one of them may not be able to survive general elections which should come later this year.

Therefore, the both leaders are advised to try harder at home for regaining the wide support and popularity that they once had before embarking on new, but rather controversial, initiatives. It is needless to say that having a solid ground for political power is necessary for successful policymaking domestically as well as diplomatically.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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