Relations with Japan
The most important development in South Korea's diplomacy
under Park was the normalization of relations with Japan.
Although South Korea had traded with Japan since 1948 and the two
countries had engaged in negotiations since 1951, disagreement on
a number of issues had prevented diplomatic ties. The junta under
Park actively sought to normalize relations. Negotiations resumed
in October 1961, culminating in an agreement in June 1965 to
establish diplomatic relations
(see Relations with Japan
, ch. 4).
Park settled for a fraction of the "reparations" earlier demanded
by Rhee, and Japanese fishermen were given access to South Korean
waters outside of the three-mile territorial limit (Rhee had
prohibited Japanese fishermen from coming any closer than the
medial line between Japan and Korea). Under the treaty, the
Japanese government was to provide the capital necessary for an
industrialization program and to open up ever-increasing loans,
investments (both public and private), and trade
(see Foreign Economic Relations
, ch. 3). The treaty normalizing relations was
denounced as a sellout by the opposition and the intellectuals
and touched off prolonged, widespread student demonstrations.
South Korean-Japanese relations since normalization have been
amicable, but were considerably strained by the abduction from
Tokyo of Kim Dae Jung in August 1973, which resulted in long and
embarrassing negotiations. In 1979 South Korean-Japanese
relations entered a new era as the two countries began informal
ties on defense matters, such as the establishment of the
Korean-Japanese Parliamentary Conference on Security Affairs.
Data as of June 1990