Dutch deny support for Japan's UN bid
3 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands has told Japan it is not ready to support the Asian nation's controversial bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
3 May 2005
AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands has told Japan it is not ready to support the Asian nation's controversial bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told his visiting Japanese colleague Junichiro Koizumi on Monday the Dutch government will first monitor international discussions about the make-up of the UN council before taking a public stance.
Japan is seeking backing from several countries for its bid for a permanent seat, but it is a highly sensitive issue given its aggression in World War II. It is also one of the reasons why tension has mounted between China and Japan recently.
The UN council has had the same make-up since its founding in 1945. There are five permanent members with veto rights and 10 rotating members. The permanent members are Britain, China, France, Russia and the US. The inclusion of a 6th member will reduce their power.
The Japanese Debt of Honour Foundation (JES) — which represents more than 90.000 victims of the Japanese occupation — is also opposed to Japan's seat on the UN council. It is demanding financial compensation for wartime victims first.
However, Koizumi refused to consider financial compensation. "We have offered our apologies and that's where it ends," a spokesman said at a press conference at the Okura hotel in Amsterdam.
The Japanese prime minister, nevertheless, said he understands the grief that still prevails among Dutch victims, saying it is an "unfortunate situation".
Japan invaded and occupied the Indonesian archipelago — then a Dutch colony — and interred 170,000 Dutch nationals.
The JES met with the Japanese ambassador in The Hague on Monday morning and the ambassador promised to pass on the foundation's grievances to Koizumi.
Koizumi stressed on Monday the friendly relations between Japan and the Netherlands. He was pleased that after WWII, good relations had been build up again with the Netherlands.
He also complimented Balkenende for the efforts of Dutch troops in Iraq, where they performed security operations in the region where Japanese troops were carrying out humanitarian duties.
During Koizumi's lightning visit, both he and Balkenende visited a Japanese cultural centre, Sieboldhuis, in Leiden. The Japanese leader visited Queen Beatrix later on Monday night.
Besides the Netherlands, Koizumi has visited India, Pakistan and Luxembourg in the past few days.
In Luxembourg, he met with the European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and discussed the role the EU can play in Asia, stressing also good relations with Europe is of great importance.
However, Koizumi also expressed his nation's concerns over the possible lifting of the arms embargo imposed on China after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. The EU is preparing to lift the embargo by June.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news