Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in attend an event on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit in Papua New Guinea in November 2018. Under the conservative Abe and progressive Moon, relations between Japan and South Korea have reached their lowest point in decades. Photo: Kyodo
Donald Kirk
Opinion

Opinion

Donald Kirk

North Korea is the only winner when South Korea and Japan spar over historical issues

  • A court case triggered the latest row between the East Asian democracies, but decades of animosity have contributed
  • The two sides should remember all that unites them, however, and that an escalating dispute means neither wins

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in attend an event on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit in Papua New Guinea in November 2018. Under the conservative Abe and progressive Moon, relations between Japan and South Korea have reached their lowest point in decades. Photo: Kyodo
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Donald Kirk

Donald Kirk

Donald Kirk is an author and journalist from Washington, D.C., and travels to South Korea, with stops in London, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines, among other places, writing on the confrontation of forces in the post-September 11 era. He was the Seoul correspondent for the International Herald Tribune from 1997 to 2003. Before gravitating to Northeast Asia, he covered much of the Vietnam War for the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Star. He has also written books on Korea, notably Korea Betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and Sunshine and Korean Dynasty: Hyundai and Chung Ju Yung.