Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Exactly where is this...whatever it is you are describing?

I am still trying to find domestic voices accusing the government of amateurishness and ineptitude in its shepherding of a resolution through the UN Security Council condemning North Korea for its missile tests of two weeks ago.

For those of you who did not catch the Linda Sieg article, a few excepts.

ANALYSIS - Japan gets passing grade on N.Korea diplomacy at UN

TOKYO - A newly assertive Japan may have won the best U.N. resolution on North Korea's missile tests it could have hoped for, but experts said Tokyo's leaders often looked like diplomatic amateurs in their drive for sanctions.

Hawkish Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, point man on North Korea, could get a boost in his bid to become Japan's next prime minister from the high-profile diplomatic campaign by Tokyo -- usually content to follow America's lead on the global stage.

But analysts said Japan's failure to secure binding U.N. sanctions has also left Abe and his rival, Foreign Minister Taro Aso, vulnerable to charges of ineptitude.

"Diplomatically, this is a better outcome for long-term peace and security of the region than what Japan had said it wanted," said Andrew Horvat, a professor at Tokyo Keizai University.

"What you want is North Korea to get the message that there are five countries, including nominal friends and potential foes, that all disapprove," Horvat said, referring to the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, who are parties to stalled talks on Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes.

"In that sense, it's been a success."

O.K., so the article's first direct quote contradicts the thesis. Not the way I would go about trying to bolster an argument--but to each her own, eh?

Shall we continue?

After 15 days of wrangling, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday for a resolution requiring nations to prevent North Korea from getting dangerous weapons and demanding Pyongyang halt its ballistic missile programme.

The Security Council was sharply divided over whether to refer to Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which allows for military force if another specific resolution is adopted.

China threatened to veto the measure if Chapter 7 was mentioned. That meant Japan, the United States, Britain and France were forced to drop the phrase, although they said they still considered the resolution to be both tough and binding.

Some analysts said Japan was putting the best face on what actually amounts to a diplomatic failure.

"The resolution didn't go the way Japan wanted, so now they are saying that it was fine because it was unanimous," said Masao Okonogi, a Korea expert at Keio University in Tokyo.

"If they say it was all tactics, that's not true. They actually thought they could get Chapter 7, but China was opposed and the United States wouldn't support them," Okonogi said.

Japan has recently stepped up its campaign to win a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and some media said the outcome of the resolution battle showed the limits of its U.N. diplomacy, since in the end it had to follow the U.S. lead and compromise.
Follow the U.S. and compromise?

It is clear that "some media"-- if such a person or group of persons even exists--has not had the pleasure of meeting UN Ambassador John "I Am Not The Walrus And Stop Calling Me That" Bolton.

Compromise? Maybe killed and grilled, served with a bernaise sauce.

Anyway, two more quotes, the first from Gerald Curtis:

Abe, who regularly leads in surveys of voters preference for the next prime minister, became a household name when he took a stern stance four years ago towards North Korea on the emotive issue of Japanese citizens kidnapped by Pyongyang decades ago.

This time he was also out in front, insisting on Japan's commitment to binding sanctions and even, some said, threatening privately to force a veto from China to demonstrate its isolation.

Some analysts said Abe would win domestic kudos, others that he had survived the test, but with less than top grades.

"What's more interesting is the lack of sophistication on the part of Japanese leadership," said Gerald Curtis, a Japan expert at New York's Columbia University. "You don't stake out a position as a bottom line that you aren't confident will be a success, because that is setting yourself up for defeat."
Far be it from your truly, a lowly office ATM*, to challenge a learned professor--but since when has acting stubborn and making extreme, unworkable demands been deemed improper in international political fora? I can think of a number of countries and pseudo-countries whose entire diplomatic linguistic repetoire is comprise of screaming vituperation.

By sticking to its guns on the necessity of a Security Council Resolution with sanctions and scaring the willies out of the Chinese with talk of acquiring a pre-emptive military capacity, the Japanese government, led by Abe, succeeded in convincing both China and Russia that Japan was serious to the point of mania about these missiles. The Japanese government's wild talk convinced the Chinese that they had to up their ante from a mere presidential statement to an actual UN resolution.

In general, "staking out a bottom line that you aren't confident will be a success" is a sign of a--gasp!--risk taker.

I do not think the Japanese government ever needs to be advised to be more cautious...

Finally, the grand summation, the piece de resistance, the big makizushi herself makes her appearance:

Some diplomatic experts also faulted Abe for reviving a debate over whether Japan should develop the capability to strike overseas enemy bases in the event of an imminent attack, just as delicate negotiations on the U.N. resolution were underway.

The comments sparked outrage in Seoul and Beijing, where bitter memories of Japan's past militarism run deep.

"Japanese politicians ... still think they can speak out of both sides of their mouths and that what they say to a domestic audience can be kept from an international audience," said Robyn Lim, a security expert at Japan's Nanzan University.

"It was a really inept performance."
Gosh I really wish I knew what they hell Lim is saying when talking about politicians talking out of both sides of their mouths!

Actually, I do not care a fig, but whatever she may be driving at in the initial quote, Lim is the source of the "inept" charge.

Oh,if only someone, somewhere agreed with her!

Here is an image of the front page of the Yomiuri Shimbun of July 17, 2006.

In the middle are two full color photographs, of Japan's representative to the United Nations on the left and China's ambassador the UN on the right, both holding up their hands in a decisive gesture. The Chinese ambassador is even allowing himself a bit of smile. Below them, is the first installment of a special three-part article on the UN decision.

The article's title?

Nihon gaikō : Kyōki no seika

"Japan Foreign Policy : The Fruits of Taking a Tough Stand"

Sounds pretty disappointed at the ineptitude, doesn't it?

And what do the editorialists on the insides of the papers say?
Intl community must act on N. Korea
Yomiuri Shimbun

China and Russia each have a stake in North Korea and threatened to veto the resolution to express their opposition to any reference to Chapter 7 because they placed a priority on their national interests.

However, the two countries eventually accepted the resolution out of concern they would be isolated in the international community, which has hardened its stance against North Korea.

Japan, which played a key role in drawing up of the initial draft resolution, played its part to defend its national interests by bargaining fiercely with China and Russia.

EDITORIAL/ Resolution on N. Korea
Asahi Shimbun

Japan and the United States tried hard to produce a resolution that included language that would pave the way for military or nonmilitary sanctions against North Korea. But China and Russia fiercely opposed, saying they would veto such a resolution.

It was of the utmost importance at this juncture to avoid a deep gulf in the Security Council. In order to demonstrate the unity of international society, it was necessary to settle for a resolution condemning North Korea.

Even if the resolution does not include sanctions, it is extremely meaningful. This is because international society, including China and Russia, all came together to put additional pressure on North Korea. The resolution is a straightforward warning to Pyongyang, that if it continues its missile provocations or nuclear development, the United Nations will take an even firmer stand.

The editorial of the Mainichi Shimbun of July 17 (sorry, Japanese only) argues:

It is impossible to deny that the removal of the Chapter 7 citation weakened the enforcement aspect of the resolution. However, one cannot think that the resolution has become ineffective because is is no longer binding. Member States have a duty to obey Security Council decisions.

...As the Council resolution was unanimous, we have created a platform in the Security Council to work together on the North Korea problem.


As the resolution this time has China and Russia on board, there is no escape route for North Korea.

Surely the Sankei Shimbun must be livid at the sellout of the sanctions resolution, railing as it always does about Japan pussilanimity!


Look, on the front page, July 17, 2006, it's an op-ed from Okazaki "Huggy Bear" Hisahiko!

Surely he's slathering mad:

日本始の主導 実る

"The First Time Japan Takes the Initiative Matters Come to Fruition"

Although the UN Security Council Resolution criticizing North Korea had the Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which enforces sanction, removed from it, we can still value this outcome.

Even if a resolution with enforcement provisions had been passed, it is doubtful that China would have really implemented the sanctions--this because the ones actually implementing sanctions are the Japanese. That Japan and the United States received the go-ahead from the Council decision for sanctions, that alone we can say achieves our goal.

Oooooh, feel the love therein for the Chinese Communist Party!!!

When Okazaki Hisahiko is willing to conceed anything involving Japan's handling of China or the DPRK, one has to consider oneself a winner.

* ATM = Automatic Typing Monkey

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