The inability to accept the past by Japanese leaders stands in stark contrast to Germany’s clear acknowledgment of its responsibility for the Holocaust. The deep layers of reconciliation Germany developed with France, Poland, Israel, and the Czech Republic stand in contrast to Japan’s apologies to its neighbors, which have been thin, intermittent, and devoid of follow-up in bilateral policies toward China and South Korea that show a genuine desire to make amends. Germany’s experience—apologize, offer compensation, build other relationship—can serve as a guideline for continuing reconciliation in East Asia.

For many in the international media and among casual observers of Asia, regional institution-building may appear a mundane subject. Strengthening existing regional institutions, or establishing a more substantive one, is generally a matter of secondary importance for policymakers in most capitals in Asia. This is more so in Washington, despite its founding member status in …Read More

Now available in paperback, AICGS Society, Culture & Politics Director Dr. Lily Gardner Feldman’s book, “Germany’s Foreign Policy of Reconciliation: From Enmity to Amity,” highlights Germany as a model for reconciliation, especially in North East Asia. In this magisterial volume, Lily Gardner Feldman traces the development of German reconciliation policy in relation to France, Israel, …Read More

In April 2013, Serbia and Kosovo signed an agreement that enabled a rapprochement between the two sides, including an understanding that they will not block each other’s bid for European Union (EU) membership. Relations between the two states had been deadlocked for years, so this was not an insignificant achievement. The agreement was mediated by …Read More

Pragmatic Necessity to Grapple with History Problems East Asian countries are now facing a situation often called the “Asian paradox,” in which deepening economic interdependence coexists with historical and territorial conflicts, and mutual suspicion. The ties of trade, tourism, and cultural exchanges have been deepening, yet these material interactions have not erased Chinese and Korean …Read More

Borrowing institutionally from the German-Polish case, Polish-Russian reconciliation had been making small, tentative steps until the crisis in and over Ukraine. There is some effort to continue civil society interaction, but official initiatives such as the planned Polish-Russian Year in 2015, which was to showcase cooperation in culture and silence, have been stalled. If the …Read More

What are the consequences of Asia’s rise for transatlantic relations? What are the opportunities for increased U.S. and European political coordination and risks of economic competition in Asia? Can the deep-seated, historical antagonisms between China, Japan, and South Korea be addressed using our knowledge of Germany’s experience with reconciliation? What is the role of leadership …Read More

German leaders called early this year for a greater German role in international security, with President Gauck noting Germany’s experience already as a crucial actor in international reconciliation. AICGS’ workshop, ”Reconciliation in the Western Balkans and in East Asia: The Role of German Governmental and Civil Society Actors and Implications for the United States,” on …Read More

Martina Timmermann

Dr. Martina Timmermann was a DAAD/AICGS Research Fellow from July to August 2014. While at AICGS, Dr. Timmermann explored the potential and options for EU/German involvement as a mediator in East Asia. One of the major underlying currents impeding a sustainable solution of the several conflicts in the South and East China Sea has been …Read More

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Barack Obama were right to pull the plug on the emotional debate over intelligence gathering and task their chiefs of staff, Peter Altmaier and Denis McDonough, with finding a solution to the conflict. This process will need time, thorough attention, and the willingness to embark on a long over-due remodel …Read More

On March 6, the Obama administration sent a strong message to Japan and South Korea to work out their differences on historical problems. Speaking on Japanese television, U.S. Ambassador to Tokyo Caroline Kennedy said, “I’m sure President Obama will be very, very happy with the progress they will make.” The strong American reaction came in …Read More

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