See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

South Korea likely to reject arbitration committee on wartime workers

The Japanese and Korean governments are at loggerheads over the issue of forced labour during the war.


Written by

Updated: May 22, 2019

The government on Monday demanded that the South Korean government agree to the establishment of an arbitration committee to resolve a lawsuit filed by former Korean wartime requisitioned workers in which Japanese companies were ordered to pay compensation, government officials said. The demand was made based on the 1965 bilateral agreement on the settlement of problems concerning property and on economic cooperation.

The government deemed it necessary to shift to an arbitration process involving a third party, which should be more enforceable, as South Korea has rejected bilateral negotiations on the issue.

However, Seoul is unlikely to agree to the demand, and the prospects are slim that the strategy will lead to resolving the issue.

“We’ve determined that it is impossible to solve this issue through negotiations based on the [1965] agreement,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said. “Based on the agreement, the South Korean government is obliged to agree to arbitration.”

Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba on Monday called South Korean Ambassador Nam Gwan-pyo to the Foreign Ministry and strongly demanded that he agree to arbitration.

The 1965 agreement on the settlement of problems concerning property specifies a two-step procedure when a conflict arises between the two countries over interpretation of the agreement or other issues: 1) Try to resolve the conflict through bilateral negotiations; 2) Refer the problem to an arbitration committee when the negotiations have failed to resolve it.

Under the bilateral agreement, an arbitration committee has three members. When either country calls for the establishment of an arbitration committee, both countries must appoint one committee member within 30 days. The two members then either agree on a third member from a third party country, or agree on a third party country that appoints a third member. The agreement states that both countries should obey the decision made by the committee.

Last October, South Korea’s Supreme Court issued a ruling ordering a Japanese company to pay compensation to former Korean requisitioned workers. In January, the Japanese government called for negotiations as specified in the agreement.

However, Seoul did not respond to the request for negotiations for more than four months. Meanwhile, plaintiffs petitioned South Korean courts on May 1 to issue an order that allows the selling of assets seized from Japanese companies.

Finally, after South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said on May 15 that there were limits to measures the South Korean government could take on the issue, the Japanese government decided that, in Suga’s words, “There was no hope that concrete measures will be taken.”

Tokyo has already appointed its arbitration committee member. Based on the agreement, the South Korean government is required to follow suit by June 18.

The South Korean government is seeking to hold a bilateral summit with Japan on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka in late June. The Japanese government intends to decide whether to agree to the summit based on Seoul’s response to the arbitration request, according to sources.

If South Korea rejects the demand and arbitration procedures go nowhere, Japan may file a complaint regarding the case with the International Court of Justice.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy

New Delhi slams Islamabad for unilaterally stopping postal services

Prasad further said that Pakistan ‘without any prior notice or information has stopped sending postal department’s letter to India’. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said that Pakistan had stopped postal service from India for the last two months and slammed the move saying that it was in contravention of international norms. “For the last two months, Pakistan has stopped postal service from India. It’s directly in contravention of the World Postal Union’s norms,” Prasad told reporters. “But Pakistan is Pakistan,” Prasad, who is the Minister for Communications and IT, added. He said that Pakistan “without any prior notice or information has stopped sending postal department’s letter to India”. Pakistan has upped the ante against India ever since Parliament withdrew special category status to Jammu and Kashmir by revoking Article 370 of its Constitution.


By Dawn
October 22, 2019

Diplomacy

Beijing sounds warning against foreign interference at annual security forum

China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe delivers a speech at the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, China. China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe sounded a thinly veiled warning against the United States at a security conference in Beijing, saying that interfering in the internal affairs of others and inciting colour revolutions have led to wars and turbulence in various regions in the world. Such “reckless interference” would not foster harmonious relations, said General Wei on Monday (Oct 21) in his speech to open the conference. Beijing has blamed foreign countries, including the US, for inciting the unrest that has convulsed Hong Kong for five months. It has also


By The Straits Times
October 22, 2019

Diplomacy

Border clash with India leaves 7 dead in Pakistan

Kashmir is becoming an untenable boiling point. At least six civilians and a Pakistani soldier were killed as Indian troops resorted to “indiscriminate and ruthless” shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), officials said on Sunday. Officials said that nine other civilians were injured, adding that this was the highest death toll in 2019 in a single day of Indian shelling from across the dividing line. Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) notified through a tweet that one soldier had been martyred in the exchange of fire while two others were injured. ISPR added that in response to unprovoked ceasefire violations by India in Jura, Shahkot and Nauseri sectors, nine Indian soldiers were killed while several ot


By Dawn
October 21, 2019

Diplomacy

Chinese TV drama to air on Kenya’s national television

China has expanded aggressively into Africa. Kenya Broadcasting Corporation on Saturday signed a partnership agreement with China’s National Radio and Television Administration that will see the national broadcaster air a popular Chinese TV drama, Feather Flies to the Sky. The drama is a 55-episode series that will be aired by national broadcaster Channel one TV until June next year. Speaking during the launch event in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr Naim Bilal, the managing director of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, said the TV series has been dubbed in Standard Kiswahili, one of the official languages in Kenya, to make it appealing to many people. “We have reviewed the series, looked at its quality and content as well as the quality of the language, and we are fully satisfied that it’s a drama that is going to entertain Kenyans,” Bilal said. He sa


By China Daily
October 21, 2019

Diplomacy

‘History will take note of those who ridiculed removal of Article 370’: PM Modi in Maharashtra

PM Modi also expressed confidence that the BJP will break all victory records in the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly elections. Prime Minister on Thursday once again lashed out at the opposition saying that history will take note of those who mocked the abrogation of Article 370, that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. “Whenever Article 370 will be discussed in history, — the decision that was taken in the interest of the country — the people who opposed and ridiculed will be remembered,” PM Modi said while addressing a poll rally in Maharashtra’s Parli. He said the next week’s state Assembly elections were a battle between BJP’s “karyashakti” (power of development) and opposition’s “swarth shakti” (selfishness). Further targeting the Congress and NCP leaders, he wondered if “frustrated and dejected” people could do anything good for people. “A Congress


By The Statesman
October 18, 2019

Diplomacy

Malaysia’s PM Mahathir says rail line RTS linking Johor Baru to Singapore to proceed

The rail line has been on again and off again. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Oct 17) said Malaysia will proceed with the 4km Johor Baru to Singapore rail line. His comments about the Rapid Transit System (RTS) rail link followed that of Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke on Tuesday that details of the project will be decided by the Malaysian Cabinet within two weeks. Tun Dr Mahathir said when asked by reporters on Thursday: “We will proceed with the RTS but we will take some time.” Asked if this meant the Malaysian government had resolved 


By The Straits Times
October 18, 2019