‘US-Japan-S.Korea military exercises fuel flames of already existing conflict’

There is always an edge when you bring Japan into the Korean discussion, but it’s particularly dangerous with these military exercises, when hundreds of planes fly along the border with North Korea, says author and human rights attorney Eric Sirotkin.

Japan, South Korea, and the US are currently holding new military exercises, just days after America and its allies concluded the largest ever air maneuvers over the peninsula. 

RT discussed this new display of force with author and human rights attorney Eric Sirotkin.

What we see is an alliance between Japan and the US which by itself isn’t a bad thing. But what we always fail to do is to put ourselves in the shoes of the North Koreans in the DPRK in order to understand the historical context as Japan has always been head-to-head with North Korea,” Sirotkin told RT.

Sirotkin recalled that Japan occupied Korea from 1910 until 1945. North Korea still calls it “the first betrayal by the US because the US gave them carte blanche to do that,” he said.

There is always an edge when you bring Japan into the Korean discussion,” he noted.

In Sirotkin’s opinion, “adding new weapons and bringing the situation to a conflict potentially between Japan and Korea, that have been at peace for so long but still without a peace treaty, is only going to stir up trouble.”

Sirotkin said he was in Japan last month and “in the newspapers, every day on the front page were stories about that stir up issues with North Korea.

According to the analyst, Tokyo uses the case to revise Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution that prohibits the country from engaging in outside military action, “anything not in self-defense.

“It is a push of the envelope against Article 9, it is something that many of the Japanese people oppose. But it is still something that many Japanese resent because of the restrictions,” he pointed out.

Sirotkin said “we’ve seen this historical tit for tat that is going back and forth for so many years,” adding that he is sure “there is going to be some reaction.”

But in this moment of time when these exercises fuel the flames of an already existing conflict where we are having hundreds of military planes fly along the border with North Korea, this is particularly dangerous. It is really necessary to look seriously at the offer of freezing these military exercises, freezing this nuclear program and engaging in dialogue, something that we have not just seen the North Koreans and Washington getting together on,” he told RT.

But primarily, it is Washington who is refusing to talk, Japan who is saying talking is useless while neither of them has been engaging in talking. That is the deep irony here,” Sirotkin concluded.