【BBC HARDtalk】South Korea’s foreign minister against Japan 【康京和 (カン・ギョンファ)韓国外相】

【BBC HARDtalk】South Korea’s foreign minister against Japan 【康京和 (カン・ギョンファ)韓国外相】

[Music] welcome to hard talk I’m Stephen Sankar Donald Trump the self-proclaimed deal maker extraordinaire is finding the Korean Peninsula tough going for all of his flames of friendship with the North Korean dictator Kim jong-un Chong yang seems no closer to giving up its nuclear arsenal an America’s strategic partnership with South Korea is looking increasingly strained to well my guest is South Korean foreign minister Kang kyung-hwa her country is currently out of step with both the u.s. and Japan so how vulnerable does that make South Korea foreign minister Kang kyung-hwa in Beijing welcome to hard talk thank you very much for having me foreign minister I think we have to start because you are in Beijing and you’ve had meetings with both the Chinese and Japanese foreign ministers we have to start with your very troubled relationship with Japan I’m going to quote to you the words of a Financial Times newspaper editorial they say the world has been fixated on Donald Trump’s tariffs on China but a new trade war is emerging in Asia this time between Japan and South Korea is that the way you see it mm-hmm you know I’ve seen that article and I have to say that this issue over trade with Japan has come quite unexpectedly and I have to say in a very unilateral and arbitrary manner on the part of Japan we are prepared to discuss what the issue is and keep this as a trade issue but I think the steps that they have taken has caused a great deal of problems for our industries and I think you know we want very much to engage with them in in the in the consultation so that we can take this back to pre July 1 when they had taken these steps but but if I may say so it’s not clear to me that you really want to lower the temperature because the Chinese Foreign Minister said to you both that is to yourself and to the Japanese Foreign Minister please resolve this issue quickly get a dialogue going lower the temperature and you in the same news conference chose to say and I’m quoting you it is important to eliminate unilateral and arbitrary trade retaliatory steps which was clearly a jab at your Japanese counterpart so you’re not really trying to sort this out well we are in fact we have offered to engage on the trade issue it is unilateral it is arbitrary it is retaliatory the Japanese rationale for introducing these trade restrictive measures have shifted initially they linked it to their dissatisfaction over how we were handling our high court judgment on the issue of forced labor then they gave the rationale that they found problems with our export control measure and somehow some of these sensitive items might make their way to North Korea they have clarified that it’s not the case but there have been some inappropriate cases but they have not explained to us as yet what those in expropriate cases are we have offered to meet up between our trade authorities to to talk through their issues and to see how we might address their concerns if their concerns are legitimate we have not had any response from that let us be candid foreign minister this dispute and we can go into some of the detail but let put in simple terms it has revived some very old suspicions even hatreds between the Japanese and South Korean peoples and we see people in South Korea talking about their outrage boycotting Japanese made goods we even tragically seen two people setting themselves on fire in protest at Japan’s restrictive trade strategy is very very damaging for what is supposed to be a crucial regional alliance for you it is our relations with Japan is extremely important especially given our need for collaboration and coordination as we deal with the North Korea nuclear issue of course in close consultation with the United States as well but I think the reaction of the Korean public to these trade measures taken by Japan you have to see it in the larger context of the relations between the two countries as you know there is a very painful past and the past has drawn a very long shadow over the recent the relations my government has said let’s deal with the past as past difficult but let’s manage that but let’s move on these other areas of close collaboration and and Japan as so far in this government have not responded if I may in turn for a second what you’ve just said is very important but but it doesn’t seem to square with what’s actually happening because when your courts in South Korea started in 2018 to revive the notion that individual South Koreans could could seek compensation from the Japanese for wartime forced labor that seemed to the Japanese to run entirely contrary to the treaty you signed with the Japanese going back to 1965 which said that all claims had been completely and finally settled you can’t sign a legal document and then reopen the whole concept of compensation well first of all the Japanese themselves have also indicated that individual rights to claim have not been extinguished that has been their position through the 1990s they have slightly changed tune in the in the recent years but the 65 agreement is about claims on property rights financial rights depths and credits what the court judgment the the recent Court judgement has said that that treaty between the two countries stays were not saying we’re breaking that or we were asking to renegotiate that but the court judgment has said that that the the context of illegal occupation I either colonial rule and the war of aggression acts illegal acts directly connected to that context have not been have not been covered by the the 65 agreement you really think it’s healthy do you to encourage South Korean citizens to seek you know here in 2019 seek compensation for the tragic and terrible things that happen during the Japanese colonial occupation it really is worth reviving and digging through all of that is it well I think it’s it’s not the government encouraging these are individuals who are living survivors who have lived through that terrible time and personally experienced the the forced labor you’ve heard the Chinese say look you guys South Korea Japan must get together and resolve this because it’s very bad for regional trade it’s jeopardizing the hopes for a free trade agreement across the entire East Asia region you and the Japanese of course have put their restrictive export controls on some key goods that normally are exported from Japan to your country and we’ll talk about that but you in your turn do seem to be getting very petty in this dispute for example your governments just announced it’s gonna double the amount of samples and the frequency of tests and inspections on radioactive substances coming in in food and agricultural produce from Japan at a sort of throwback to the concerns that we heard after Fukushima in 2011 but this is 2019 why are you suddenly reimposing or putting on new very tight controls on these Japanese agricultural and food products well there is still concern on the part of our public about the the fisheries products and the agricultural products in the vicinities of the Fukushima plant and I think you know we of course have have to listen to the concerns of our public it’s only now that you’re in a bitter trade war with Japan you’ve decided you suddenly need to impose these extra tests you could have imposed them years ago but you didn’t it doesn’t look good no we no no I think yeah however it looks I think we do our policy reviews and take steps in accordance with our concern for the the perception the public concern for their further safety and health and I had given the release of a recent report on the the possible releasing of contaminated waste water into the sea you know we have asked Japan for explanation about this I think we will continue to engage them on this issue but that has raised a lot of concern on our public and therefore I think it’s the government’s legitimate response just a couple more quick ones on Japan before we get to the whole Korea Peninsula strategic piece you just if I may on Japan are you now saying to the Japanese that that not only economic ties but security intelligence and strategic partnership ties are at stake we want to minimize the issues we and I think given the Japanese rationale now that the trade control issues are really technical issues on the part of their export industries we are saying okay fine let’s discuss it at that level and work through the technical issues we’ve not had any response from the the Japanese on that obviously evidently it is tight to their displeasure over the court judgment this is the judgment of our highest court we absolutely have to abide by that no self-respecting democracy in a democracy that abides by the rule of law and the independence the court would do otherwise so that is the situation in my country the Japanese position is that everything was settled by the 65 and so we are trying to find a way forward that move that helps us to resolve this issue and we have thought through very seriously on all the options we have offered a way that has not been seriously even even seriously considered by Japan so remain committed to open discussion and consultations all right so all of these issues where does this end then because if one looks at the economic battle that’s playing out right now to be honest Japan is it a bigger more powerful economy than yours you depend on some key strategic tech components and materials for your biggest companies like Samsung that come in excuse me that come from Japan so frankly Outsiders would think that Japan holds more of the cards here than you do particularly as your export businesses right now are suffering already and this is going to hit them hard the South Korean economy looks vulnerable you look vulnerable in this battle with Japan exactly exactly I think we you know we depend on Japan I our trade with Japan has always been in the – for us and and it is just the you know of all the export items that we get from Japan it has been those three critical items that are critical to our semiconductor industry that they put a restriction on so I you know it – to think that a country that has so mutually interdependent so much people-to-people exchanges and growing that they would do this without prior notice without prior consultations very unilaterally and just three days mind you after the g20 in Osaka committed the countries to free fair non-discriminatory transparent and predictable trade to have this on us three days later I think is completely unacceptable so we are asking through consultations let’s find a way to roll things back to pre July 1 you sound very angry we are I think we are just you know there’s the blatant sense of injustice because I think Japan has not fully come to terms with the past and so that has meant that the people the living survivors in particular who have lived through those difficult days has has a deep-seated sense of injustice that they have not been given their due claims about the harm done to them let me stop you there because your position on the sour relationship with Japan has become very clear in this interview but there is something else very important I need to talk to you about and that is the strategic and diplomatic position of your government with regard to North Korea and in particular Donald Trump’s continued effort to make what he has always described as the big grand deal of denuclearizing North Korea he describes Kim jong-un president of North Korea as his friend a man who writes in beautiful letters and yet all of Trump’s diplomacy frankly thus far appears to have achieved nothing are you worried about the Trump strategy well I think they know we’re in a bit of a lull I think the the lack of an agreement in Hanoi has been disappointing and the North Koreans have not been ready or prepared to come back to the to the negotiating table the North Korean leader promised President Trump at their brief meeting in the DMZ in late June that they will come back to the negotiating table they haven’t but indications are that they by now perhaps may be ready I think there is communication context between the United States and North Korea to to set the agenda to set the date and the place for their working-level negotiations when that take place so yeah I think to say this has been a failure or a disappointment no progress has been I think that’s you know when you look at things on a day to day basis or a week to the basis month stupid months the base things look different but I think if you look at in the larger perspective it’s a huge step change we’re where we were two years ago a huge step change in that Donald Trump has given all sorts of different diplomatic prizes to Kim jong-un but he appears to have got very little in return and in particular you in South Korea appear to have been cut out of the entire Korean diplomacy the the North Koreans the other day said they will never talk to you again they said that the idea they could have meaningful talks to you was would make a would make the boiled head of a dead cow laughs so they’re not interested in talking to you and Donald Trump doesn’t seem to want to talk to you very much either he’s much keener to talk to Kim Jong un direct so you you seem irrelevant now oh I wouldn’t say so I think you know our collaboration with the United State all levels is extremely close and I think the North Korean challenge has in fact brought us even closer it may not be visible but I think the number of meetings that my president and mr. Trump has had there the phone conversation my own interactions with mr. Pompeo has been extremely frequent and very close so we do things based upon the very close self u.s. North South Korea coordination so the for the North Koreans to think that we can they can cut us out of this is a bit ludicrous I don’t think they understand the reality we also know that North Korea’s diplomatic behavior is very unique to put it mildly and some of it is quite unacceptable given but surely the point is this Kim Jong I’m sorry to interrupt again it it’s a difficult line but Kim jong-un has Donald Trump precisely where he wants him he he doesn’t need South Korea coming in and complicating that relationship so the North Korean message to you guys is quite simple unless you’re prepared to ease economic sanctions and offer economic assistance to North Korea and unless you’re prepared to end your strategic military partnership with the United States North Korea has no interest in talking to Seoul so over to you are you prepared to consider North Korea’s requests of you well no I don’t think you know our strategic alliance with the United States is something for the North Koreans to to demand anything of or comment on we are absolutely confidence about about the strength of the alliance and the strength of the day to day coordination I think you know you also have to distinguish between North Korea’s rhetoric and what their internal calculations are and I think you know in all of these matters we share with the analysis the information very frequently with with the United States so the in fact I think in many ways the alliance is stronger than ever I wonder whether your words about the strength of your partnership with Washington will convince anybody around the world when we look at the reality of Donald Trump in recent days questioning the point of joint military exercises with your forces in South Korea saying I don’t like paying for them we should be reimbursed for them and I’ve told the South Koreans that then he went on to say South Korea has agreed to pay substantially more money to the u.s. in order to defend itself from North Korea something which you then said actually hadn’t been settled yet so what’s the truth here is there a big dispute with the United States about how much you’re prepared to pay to have the u.s. help defend you well this is not a dispute this is an issue that we will work through in the spirit of the Alliance we have worked through ten rounds of this cost-sharing agreement and we will work through the next round I think president Trump we know his style his tweets we read them very carefully but we also looked at an in the long term in the larger policy context of the United States well how did you feel when Donald Trump first of all mimicked in a rather offensive way as a South Korean accent at a private meeting and then he was reported as saying jokingly it was easier to get a billion dollars from South Korea than to get a few hundred dollars from a rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn this is the man that you wanted your strategic partner well your estate you’re trying to instigate me and I won’t fall for that and I will not comment either way on the under on the words or the actions of a president Trump you know I think his in the overall his his determination and his political will has been instrumental together with my president to bring us this far on the on the engagement with North Korea but that I think is also then supported by the policy establishment of the United States as represented in the State Department in the Defense Department a national security council foreign minister you can only take your own diplomacy so far when John Bolton Trump’s national security adviser that suggests in the future South Korea should pay all five billion u.s. dollars cost of u.s. the 28 and a half thousand US troops sitting in South Korea how do you feel about that well we as we have not yet started serious negotiations that’s for sure we have their team I think in Korea for first round of initial sounding out but the serious negotiations will begin in September so we have yet to see where this leads to but we will certainly go to the negotiating table on the cost sharing based upon our position arriving at a reasonable level that is acceptable to us that is that we can handle and that we can pass through our national assembly for minutes that we’re almost out of time can you ever remember a time in the recent past when South Korea looked more economically and politically vulnerable we’ve talked about the impact of the trade dispute with Japan on your economy but frankly strategically you’re in dispute with Japan the North Koreans won’t talk to you your relationship with Trump is shall we say troubled to say the least you’ve got China and Russia which have ambitions in your region which don’t necessarily match yours South Korea is in a lot of trouble well we have lots of challenges but I thought I wouldn’t called our relations with the United States troubled I think we have our disagreements all relationships to wheat but we are an alliance of 65 years and we have been able to work through difficult issues in the past in this spirit of the Alliance we have our challenges with Japan we have our issues with China and Russia but it which one fundamental goal we share is that the Korean Peninsula must be wholly denuclearized and that we must find lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula so we very much have that goal in our eyesight and a deal with the daily challenges as they come foreign minister Kang kyung-hwa I thank you very much indeed for joining me from Beijing thank you for having me [Music] you you


8 thoughts on “【BBC HARDtalk】South Korea’s foreign minister against Japan 【康京和 (カン・ギョンファ)韓国外相】”

  • Korea has never tried resolve the problem. Just making the story big and use Japan as an enemy for Moon’s political agenda.

  • 잡다한 채널원꾼의 says:

    I'm a korean. and I laughed so hard at this guy kicking our minister's ass. lol
    right after this interview, korea kicked GSOMIA with Japan away.
    If anyone wanna look how Korea's faring in this fight, just look up the recent candle graph for KOSPI.
    All Korea has now is 'moral highground' for something that happend 120years ago. what a fucking joke.
    worst relationship ever with Japan and US, two very important allies. and North is keep firing Missles threatning everyone. China really doesn't care about my country. lol

    Another text book example of why Socialist, populist regime never works

  • In the agreement with Japan‐Republic of Korea Basic Relations Treaty in 1965,
    "Both of two countries verify that the claim issue between Japan and Korea is completely and finally resolved "
    Korea say even now "It is not still over! Japan must follow the judgment of Korea's supreme court! "
    Japan say "We already verified that it was over. That is your domestic problem.Keep your word."
    You will see which side is right.

    Korea has no idea to keep the promise. They always move the goal post.
    I think they live in another planet…

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