November 20, 2007

Will Japan Block US-NK Detente and Derail the 6 Party Talks?

Japan's new Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's recent meeting with President Bush was somewhat strained over Japan's insistence that North Korea not be taken off the US list of state sponsor of terrorism unless the issue over Japanese abductees to North Korea is resolved. Is Japan willing to derail the six party agreements on nuclear disarment and security in Northeast Asia due to this single issue?

Donald Kirk of the Asia Times Online has an interesting commentary: "The differences between the two were etched clearly as Fukuda and Bush sparred politely over the question of how to deal with North Korea. The problem is simple. Bush is anxious for a foreign policy 'success' that may be inscribed in his 'legacy' as president, and it looks as though detente on the Korean peninsula may be about the best he can hope for after a record of failure, disappointment and, on occasion, half-success in the middle east."

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