Reconciliation encompasses truth-telling, sharing of historical narratives, or dialogue to transform relations among groups affected by conflict and rebuild trust between the state and citizens so that former enemies can envision and realize a shared future. USIP supports research to evaluate and better understand the practices of reconciliation used around the world and their impact.
What’s Behind Japan and South Korea’s Latest Attempt to Mend Ties?
The meeting between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida earlier this month — the first bilateral summit between South Korean and Japanese leaders in over a decade — was welcomed by both sides as a major step toward renewing relations. Despite ample common cause on issues such as regional security and economic growth, ties between the two countries have been strained in recent years over unresolved disputes stemming from Japan’s colonial occupation of Korea.
We Can Heal War’s Traumas; U.S. and Vietnam Show How
This winter marks 50 years since U.S. and Vietnamese diplomats in Paris ceremoniously signed “peace accords” that did not end the Vietnam War, but that achieved America’s withdrawal from it. Thus, the accords permitted, a half-century later, what is now a durable American-Vietnamese reconciliation. In the face of seemingly intractable wars — in Ukraine, Afghanistan, the eastern Congo basin, Yemen or elsewhere — the growing U.S.-Vietnamese relationship shows that even a peace that seems impossible today can indeed be built for our children.
Japan, South Korea Must Address Mounting ‘Debt’ of Historical Atrocities
Few issues between Japan and South Korea draw as much attention and political resources while producing such ephemeral results as historical reconciliation. In two years, the countries will reach milestones for major agreements, such as the 10th anniversary of the 2015 “comfort women” agreement and the 60th anniversary of the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and South Korea. Between these two landmark deals are several official Japanese apologies, government speeches acknowledging Japan’s colonial past, visits by Japanese dignitaries to Korean memorial sites, a public-private reparations program, government-level “friendship” initiatives and civil society efforts to grapple with so-called history issues.
Resolving Tensions Between South Korea and Japan: An Essay Series
South Korea and Japan normalized relations in 1965, but unresolved historical disputes continue to undermine genuine bilateral reconciliation and optimal diplomatic, security and economic cooperation. Past efforts, both between the two countries and trilaterally with the United States, to help improve relations have generally emphasized a “future-oriented” approach that focused on common security and economic interests.
The USIP Learning Agenda
In support of the Evidence Act and as part of the U.S. national security architecture, USIP is carrying out its own learning agenda. Peacebuilding has long been viewed as too messy and complex for evidence-based approaches — but USIP’s mix of research and practice belies that assumption.