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A feud for the ages

14 3 0
The feud between the governments of Korea and Japan is largely seen through the prism of history. While politicians are looking back at what they cannot change, a young generation looks forward to what they can change. These two perspectives are required if this feud is to be resolved. Yonhap
By Amanda Price

The dispute between South Korea and Japan has broken its banks, and the rising waters are eroding paths that once allowed nations to meet half way.

As the flood waters swell, to wide-spread international bewilderment, neither side appears to be willing to open the release gates, reduce the pressure and avert disaster.

If the debris-filled waters were not enough of a threat, the mud, thrown liberally from one side to another, is creating the potential for a slide from which neither side may recover.

For decades, the animosity between the governments of the island nation and the governments of the Korean Peninsula was limited to thorny verbal quips, back-handed compliments and subtle, but deliberate snubs.

But now this ongoing dispute has become a full-scale, bare-knuckle fight. The rule book has been torn up and punches below the belt are permitted. If the present winds prevail, more than just political blood is likely to be spilt.

These may seem overly dramatic, but national and international experts are cautioning that this stand-off may lead Korea and Japan to a situation in which both sides will lose.

One-time South Korean ambassador to Japan, Shin Kak-soo, warned that "irreparable damage" would result from this situation, pointing out that "this profound rift" could be "heralding a very dangerous and vicious cycle of escalation."

This sentiment has been expressed time and time again, with Daniel Sneider, a lecturer of international policy at Stanford, claiming the present events are a road to "warfare," replete with dangers.

The Council on Foreign Relations questioned whether all bridges were now burnt between Seoul and Tokyo, suggesting that "their animosity" may now be "more meaningful than their........

© The Korea Times