Session: Plenary Session II
Date/Time: April 23, 2019 / 14:45-16:15
Philip Stephens, Financial Times
Hahm Chaibong, The Asan Institute for Policy Studies
David Harris, American Jewish Committee
Aleksandra Gliszczynska, Polish Academy of Sciences
Volker Stanzel, German Council on Foreign Relations
Collective memory is a useful political instrument in domestic politics. Yet, when used to bolster the politics of us-against-them, it can prevent countries from cooperating even when their national interests are compatible. Under the strategic pressure of the Cold War, former WWII adversaries managed to overcome their existing grievances and reconcile; in some cases, they even became allies. By contrast, historical issues in East Asia remain deadlocked with lingering historical animosity toward Japan. While South Korea insists on historical justice, it also recognizes a growing need for security cooperation with Japan. When values, such as justice and human rights, contradict national interest, what choice should countries like South Korea make? What role should apologies and reparations play in international reconciliation? Which should South Korea prioritize—realizing justice through the settlement of historical disputes or reinforcing cooperation with an emphasis on strategic partnerships? What kind of lessons can East Asia learn from other regions?