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South Korean scholar calls for regional identity amid territorial row

South Korean scholar calls for regional identity amid territorial row

Taipei, Oct. 29 (CNA) Controversial sovereignty issues in the East China Sea can be solved through the development of regional identity, a visiting scholar from South Korea said Monday. Chun Chae-sung, a professor of international relations at Seoul National University, said that since East Asian countries have many problems inherited from the past, territorial rows can only be solved when all the parties involved accord one another mutual respect. To this end, he said, the countries in the area should develop a "common view on the history of the region" and develop a "regional identity among the people of the region." Speaking in Taipei at a dialogue of scholars from Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, Chun said that "middle powers" -- a term he used to refer to nations with moderate influence such as South Korea, Japan and Taiwan -- will play important roles in solving disputes in Northeast Asia. To build concrete steps for these middle powers, Chun suggested that they should produce and popularize strategic concepts developed by think tanks, as well as establish a transnational knowledge network. The efforts should include enhanced connections among Taiwan, Japan and South Korea to allow the sharing of knowledge and thoughts, Chun said. Meanwhile, speaking of the individual roles of the various countries, Yasuhiro Izumikawa, an associate professor at Japan's Chuo University, said countries need to balance their domestic politics when approaching maritime or territorial disputes. "The competition between 'hawks' (who have nationalistic policy preferences) and 'doves' (who prefer reconciliation) makes disputes harsher and more difficult to manage," he said. Noting that it is difficult to de-escalate disputes once such dynamics have kicked in, Izumikawa said policymakers must be aware of this difficulty and conduct routine diplomacy to keep potential sources of conflict escalation under control. Tensions have escalated recently over a territorial dispute between South Korea and Japan over an East Sea island group named the Dokdo Islands in South Korea and the Takeshima Islands in Japan. Rows have also erupted among Taiwan, Japan and China over the East China Sea archipelago known as the Diaoyutai Islands in Taiwan, the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China. (By James Lee and Jeffrey Wu)


Updated : 2020-12-03 07:03 GMT+08:00