East Asian Critical Journals Conference aims to overcome nationalism

East Asian Critical Journals Conference aims to overcome nationalism

Participants discuss creating peace in the 5th East Asian Critical Journals Conference held on June 29, at Okinawa University in Naha.

June 30, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

The 5th East Asian Critical Journals Conference was held on June 29 and 30 at Okinawa University to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the quarterly journal Keshi-Kaji. Editors and researchers from Asian countries discussed working to create solidarity that will lead to peace. Keynote speaker Paik Nak-chung, professor emeritus at Seoul University, called for cooperation and exchange to overcome the nationalism that divides the people of East Asia.

Keynote speaker Paik Nak-chung, professor emeritus at Seoul University.

Paik, who founded the Quarterly Chngbi in 1966, has criticized the military dictatorship and the divided nature of the Korean Peninsula. Referring to U.S. bases on Okinawa, he commented that the United States has taken advantage of the internal structural contradictions in Japan to maintain its hegemonic power. According to the keynote speaker, tension between the two Koreas has become a pretext for the United States to preserve its bases on Okinawa and its power in East Asia. The professor said that there is a link between the Cold War structure on the Korean Peninsula and making the U.S. bases in Okinawa a permanent fixture. In addition, he commented that on a higher level, Okinawa would be a core spot for regional solidarity to resolve the problem of nationalism in the modern world. Paik hopes that a declaration of autonomy and self-government by the Yonaguni assembly and the agreement between the Yaeyama Islands and eastern Taiwan to promote tourism and economic exchange in 2009 will serve as a new model for cross-border regional solidarity.

“The island that has become a signpost for overcoming nationalism is being targeted by Japanese nationalism,” said Moriteru Arasaki, professor emeritus at Okinawa University. He pointed out that the China Threat theory regarding the Senkaku Islands and the PAC3 being deployed in response to North Korea’s missile launch has set the scene for the government to send Self-Defense Forces to Yonaguni. “The Japanese government is brazenly pushing ahead with a policy that rips apart the cross-border solidarity created by the people. How can we push back against this?”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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