Trade and diplomatic conflict between Seoul and Tokyo is growing in intensity. It came down to the fact that the two main US ally in Asia Pacific ceased to share intelligence.
In less than two months — since the beginning of July 2019 — Japan and the Republic of Korea went from public statements until the break of cooperation in the security sphere. Seoul and Tokyo have deleted each other from the list of countries with the regime, the highest preferred and imposed restrictions on the export and import substances required for the production of electronic components.
The most stringent measure of experts believe exports from Japan to Korea fluorinated polyamides, photoresists and hydrogen fluoride used in the manufacture of memory modules for computers and smartphones. For Korean companies Samsung and SK Hynix, which supplies the world market with about 63% of all chips of this type, as they received up to 94% of fluorine-containing polyamides and up to 92% of photoresists is from the land of the rising sun.
Difficulties will have and Japanese manufacturers of hi-tech chemicals — Fuji, JSR, TOK Semiconductor and others. No one except the Korean giants of the industry, cannot “digest” such volume of fluorine-containing polyamides, and photoresists. Their competitors are unlikely in the near future will go to large risky investments.
Were in danger of all the world’s electronic industry.
The conflict has historical roots. The Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945, was occupied by Japan. Corporation of Japan used the forced labor of Koreans. In addition, the Japanese army massively exploited Korean sex slaves. Despite the fact that the two countries became close allies of the United States immediately after the Second World war, bilateral relations were normalized only in 1965. Japan invested in South Korea billions of dollars in direct investment and grants. It was believed that the wrongs of the wartime forgotten. But they were only muffled by the cold war.
As soon as the iron curtain fell, South Korea resumed the protests with demands of reparations to victims of crimes the Japanese invaders. Under pressure from the US in 2015 was signed a new contract. Tokyo has agreed to pay the required amount Seoul (about 10 million dollars) in relief Fund for victims and a formal apology.
It seemed that the issue is closed. That is, in 2015 the “end of history” came and developed Asia. In the era of globalization in General it was not customary to speak of past wars, victories, defeats and the continuing mutual claims. The national state was considered a relic of the past. The whole world has been “here” step in the “bright future” without borders, historical traditions and “all sorts” of sovereignty.
Japan and South Korea were just exhibitions of the achievements of liberal globalism. It maintained ethnic identity, but national policy (at least officially) was not. Both States were integrated into a single market, they acted in a political system like the West, their leaders from high tribunes uttered the words, perfectly in tune with the rhetoric of Brussels, London and Washington. Developed Asia, it seemed, lived in strict accordance with the globalist manuals.
Politicians constantly voiced by Japanese claims to the Kuril Islands global authorities tried not to notice. No territorial disputes in the new “cross-border world” should not be. And even if the land is trying to take away from this “wrong” country as Russia, it is still not consistent with the liberal paradigm. Liberal globalism does not provide for discussions on fundamental issues. What is the ideological frame, the fact isn’t there.
For the same reason remained “unnoticed” neo-Nazi marches in the Baltic States and rampant neoanderson in Ukraine. Can’t be any “newest NATO countries” nor in the “young European democracies” there are no relics of the past, even more so disgusting. Let me remind you that before the appearance on the political horizon of the United States Donald trump’s “nationalist” was called the policy of Russia. Just because Moscow has refused to consider sovereignty an anachronism.
Meanwhile, neither the old ethnic conflicts, nor the demons of the past have not gone away. They are preserved in “autocracies” and “liberal democracies”. Global authorities have not coped with his own declared objectives. Added to this are particular problems associated with open borders and “free trade” — the influx unwilling to assimilate migrants, the export of jobs from developed countries and, as consequence, falling real incomes and the destruction of their traditional way of life. And again lost global authorities, people turned for protection to their national leaders. So he rolled across the world the so-called populist wave.
In 2016 one of the main ideologists of liberal globalism Fareed Zakaria in his keynote article “Populism on the March” argued that populist sentiment peculiar only to Europeans and North Americans, as they feel the pressure of migrants from other cultural regions of the world. Korea and Japan he cited as an example of the countries in which populist and nationalist sentiments simply nowhere to take.
Zakaria, of course, wrong. Populists came to power in Latin America. Populist course was to adhere to the Indian government. Significant changes in the policy of the Communist party of China. In 2017, it was the turn of South Korea. Of course, the new President moon Jae-Ins can’t be fully called a populist or a nationalist, but his rhetoric appeared familiar notes.
In his campaign speeches moon called the Treaty of 2015 “inconclusive” and “unjust,” and took over the post officially in favor of its revision. In the fall of 2018 the Supreme court of the Republic of Korea rendered a decision according to which the victims of the Japanese occupation can file a claims for compensation, addressed to the company and subjects the land of the rising sun. Under the court decisions were dozens of corporations. None of them expressed the desire to pay reparations. But soon the territory of South Korea was arrested portion of the assets of firms Mitsubishi Heavy, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. and Nachi-Fujikoshi Corp. This was the starting point of the conflict.
Another three or four years ago, such a conflict would be the “international community” nipped in the Bud. Washington, the WTO, the IMF and various international mediators pressed would be in Seoul and Tokyo, and those, even continuing to argue about reparations, would not enter against each other restrictive measures, threaten the “free trade” and put on the face of the collapse of the global electronic industry. Moreover, if moon Jae In is elected not 2017, but in 2015, he would have quickly explained that his rhetoric was inappropriate. And he would be obeyed.
But in the court of a completely different era. Sanctions and commercial barriers, technological war, and mutual claims in a variety of commercial industries have become an integral part of the new international competition. The most striking symptom of the new time was that neither Washington nor European capitals have rushed to put out the “Asian fire”, escaped with only a General wish for a speedy resolution of the crisis.
As a result, the mediator in the talks between Japan and South Korea made China. August 21, met in Beijing the foreign Ministers of the three countries to identify ways of resolving disputes between Seoul and Tokyo. If negotiations (as go they, I think, will be a long time) will be crowned with success, it will not only diplomatic success of China, but also geopolitical — two developed countries of Asia even more with her closer, gradually vrasta in her backyard. If the conflict continues, the PRC, and this will find the benefit for themselves. In the end, what is worse for Samsung and it is better for Huawei, especially considering that Apple Inc. had serious problems due to the production of their laptops and smartphones in China.
Another notable feature of the Asian dispute is that the measures taken by the two governments, are a cross between protectionist tariffs and sanctions. Thus, completely erased the boundary between the two types of restrictive action. Any political action is now indistinguishable from the economic. Economic and industrial-technological competition is now international policy.
The crisis in the Asia Pacific region clearly shows that in the course of inter-state competition to be awakened by a “demons of the past.” All historical facts, real and imaginary, all the resentment even long-forgotten, all the national myths in any connotation of the term becomes a weapon in the struggle for a place under the sun in the XXI century.
And note how easily the country go to the aggravation, even if it threatens the established international market connections. Apparently, not so valuable these relationships are compared with the possible gain in the trade-technology debate. This means that all global supply chain will undergo restructuring. All major suppliers moreproduktov — whether hydrocarbons, soybeans or memory chips will begin to adjust their business models. So, Samsung may cut exports of chips, and the freed resources will be spent on the development of their own “e-chemistry”. Japanese corporations will cut its production and will be engaged in their own chips.
Tokyo and Seoul, Washington and Beijing will clearly be on the tactical compromises, but the vector of development of the situation in the first half of the XXI century decided — each power, seeking a worthy place in the new world, will have to ensure that vital industries are minimally vulnerable. Maybe not 100% self-sufficient, but certainly resistant to any changes the trading environment. And these changes, as we have seen, be quick and come from the most unexpected quarter.
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