My dialogue with Mr. Son Jong-sik, South Korean Consul-General to Fukuoka on the North Korean issues and the remains of North Korean soldiers buried at a Japanese temple

投稿日:2018年8月15日 更新日:

I met with Mr. Son Jong-sik, South Korean Consul-General to Fukuoka, at South Korean Consulate-General in Fukuoka City. I was warmly received by Mr. Son, and we exchanged our frank opinions enjoying real Korean dishes. He had a long-experienced career as a South Korean diplomat engaging in South Korea’s diplomatic relationship with Japan, and seemed to be very familiar with Japan.

First of all, I briefly explained my view on the North Korean issues: “The role which South Korean President Moon Jae-in has played in promoting the détente between South and North Korea is significant. However, the negotiation between the US and North Korea concerning North Korea’s denuclearization has not stepped forward yet. South Korea’s conciliatory policy toward North Korea is correct. However, I am afraid that the unification of South and North Korea will be promoted on North Korea’s initiative, under strong influence of China which exists behind North Korea. It is because North Korea is now substantially under the umbrella of China. Therefore, I wish South Korea will strengthen its alliance with free nations in cooperation with the US and Japan. As for President Trump’s security, economic and trade policies, many people in the international society are now confused and feeling discomfort, due to his own arbitrary decisions. Japan will strongly demand North Korea to release all Japanese abductees. China’s expansionism in the fields of politics, military affairs, economy, and information control is now unlimited, and the world is said to be in the era of the new cold war between the US and China.”

In response to my view on the North Korean issues, Mr. Son replied as follows: “President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have agreed not to bring about the war between the two countries at their recent summit meeting. The reason why the US and North Korea’s negotiation on North Korea’s denuclearization does not move forward is that North Korea requires the US guarantee on the continuation of its regime, and until such firm guarantee by the US can be assured, North Korea will never promise the US to denuclearize the country – in other words, to abandon all nuclear weapons. North Korea’s nuclear development is deemed to have already been completed. Although North Korea does not seem to like China, North Korea was forced to seek for China’s help because the US threatened North Korea prior to the summit meeting in mid-June. Since then, North Korea has expected to normalize its diplomatic relationship with Japan in order to obtain Japanese economic supports. It seems to me that Japan is excessively emphasizing the abduction issue by North Korea.

I asked him questions, “Why doesn’t North Korea keep its promise determined by the diplomatic negotiation? Isn’t there any such morality as Confucianism in North Korea which teaches human being’s duties to take care of one’s parents and keep one’s promise?” He replied, “In North Korea, Kim Jong-un’s own will surpasses all other moralities, and therefore, there is no other way except persuade him.”

Lastly, I told him about the fact that the remains of 431 North Korean soldiers, who died as Japanese soldiers during the Second World War, are buried in a splendid charnel house at the Yutenji Temple, Meguro Ward, Tokyo. It was built by the charitable people, and the prayers to these deceased soldiers have been regularly offered by the Japanese government. (For details, please see my article of June 22). I asked Mr. Son as to whether it will be a clue for North Korea to release all Japanese abductees if we inform North Korean leader Kim Jong-un of this fact. He promised me to make efforts for it.