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China & Koreas Take On Japan, France Quotes Bismarck, Of DRC & Rwanda

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 29 -- The UN Security Council debate on "War, its lessons, and the search for a permanent peace" on January 29 featured several rounds of fighting on issues ranging from Japan and World War II to Russia and Georgia, Armenia and Turkey, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  Chinese Permanent Representative Liu Jieyi told Inner City Press he would be raising the issue of Japanese prime minister Abe visiting the Class A War Criminals" in the Yasukuni shrine, and he did. He said, "What Abe is doing is to try to reverse the verdict on the war and defend war criminals."

  Hours later when Japan spoke, it argued that there are others, not just war criminals, in the Yasukuni shrine. Its response on comfort women -- sexual slavery -- did not convince South Korea, which replied that it is not a charity issue, that Japan must accept legal responsibility.

 North Korea, or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, said much the same thing: a rare chance for rapprochement, courtesy of Jordan which proposed and sponsored the debate.

  That the debate was in the Security Council was questioned by some, who saw the Council once again grabbing terrain that belongs to the 193 states in the General Assembly. India's Permanent Representative Mukerje opposed any idea for the UN to get involved in re-examining historical narratives (Mukerje told Inner City Press this could be inferred from Jordan's concept paper.)

  Georgia talked about Russia giving 500 vehicle permits for the Sochi Olympics to Abkhazia; Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative Pankin used a short reply to mention South Ossetia as well.

  Armenia and Turkey, the last of the replies, "did not have a common understanding," as Turkey put it, of events in 1915. Turkey said the UN had not called it a genocide.

  Kenya spoke about the International Criminal Court, saying it must work harder to be impartial and not to "manipulate justice for the powerful."

  France's Gerard Araud said, without mentioning the Shah, that Iran was once an ally of Israel (whose Ron Prosor mentioned not only Rwanda but also Cambodia). Araud cited the Kaiser and quoted from Bismarck; it hearkened back to Araud's statement to the Assemblee Nationale on June 12, 2013 that Rwanda is like "the Prussia" of its region.

  The DRC used its speech to talk about Rwanda and the M23 rebels. Rwanda's Deputy Permanent Representative replied with a series of questions: was it Rwanda who killed Lumumba? Was Rwanda responsible for Mobutu? Who hosted and failed to separate the genocidaires from Rwanda in 1994? We'll have a separate story on this question. Watch this site.

Footnote: Tellingly, even as China spoke about war crimes and Japan, the UN spokesperson's office loudly squawked that correspondents should go to the Agence France-Presse (and Kyodo) farewell drinks hosted by UNCA, the UN's Censorship Alliance. War crimes, shwar crimes.


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