The Ambassador and VFM Yachi Discuss Liancourt Rock Dispute
- S E C R E TTOKYO 002154
- SECDEF PASS TO DUSD LAWLESS,
- NSC PASS TO D. WILDER AND V. CHA
- E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/20/2026
- TAGS: PREL, MARR, KS, JA
- SUBJECT: THE AMBASSADOR AND VFM YACHI DISCUSS LIANCOURT ROCK DISPUTE
- REF: TOKYO 002098
- Classified By: Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer. Reason: 1.4 (b)(d).
1. (S) At 11:00 a.m. on April 20, the Ambassador spoke with VFM Yachi, at Yachi's request, regarding simmering tensions between Japan and the ROK over a planned Japanese maritime survey near the disputed Liancourt Rocks (reftel).
He explained, briefly, that the ROK intended to propose to an international commission in June that features on the bottom of the sea in the disputed area be given Korean names.
Japan wants to survey the area in order to make a counter-proposal at the meeting.
Korea, Yachi stated, may use force to block the survey ship.
Yachi further noted that he might travel to Seoul the following day, April 21, to try to resolve the matter peacefully.
2. (S) The Ambassador stated the United States understands that Japan is within its rights under international law.
The Koreans are behaving irrationally, and the United States is concerned that they may do something crazy, causing a major problem.
Everyone needs to back off, he stressed, to enable the matter to be resolved peacefully.
We do not want our two allies shooting at each other, he asserted.
The Ambassador advised that he might get in touch with FM Aso later in the day.
3. (C) Yachi thanked the Ambassador for his concern and said he would do his best.
He requested that the Ambassador send an Embassy representative to the Foreign Ministry to hear Japan's position on the issue.