UNC’s Phrasing of Japanese Military Support Stirring Controversy

Anchor: The U.S.-led United Nations Command(UNC) is reportedly seeking Japan's membership in efforts to bolster its defense capabilities on the Korean Peninsula. The move stirred controversy in South Korea, wary of Japanese military presence on the peninsula after 35 years of colonization.

Celina Yoon has more.

Report: The United Nations Command(UNC) in South Korea is reportedly seeking to include Japan as an official member, a move that would invite Japanese military involvement in the event of an armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

According to the 2019 English-language edition of the annual Strategic Digest jointly published Thursday by the United States Forces Korea(USFK), the UNC and the Combined Forces Command, the UNC would ensure the support and force flow through Japan that would be necessary in times of crisis."

No such language existed in the previous two publications of the digest, and the Korean-language version appears to say with Japan instead of through.

Further, multiple government sources in Seoul said on Thursday that the U.S. is actively seeking to expand the UNC's roles on the peninsula and that it hopes Japan will join 16 other countries that provide human and physical assets to support South Korea's national security.

These so-called sending states fought on South Korea's behalf in the Korean War under the UN banner, including Australia, Canada and the U.K.

However, Seoul's Defense Ministry was quick to reject the idea that Japan is eligible to become a sending state, as Japan -- occupied by the U.S. between 1945 and 1952 -- did not participate in the Korean War.

The ministry said no discussions have occurred regarding the issue of Japan's participation and that any form of Japanese military assistance on the peninsula is possible only after consultation with Seoul.

The UNC explained later on Thursday that Japan cannot participate as an official sending state under current UN resolutions.

Source: KBS World Radio

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