Tuesday, November 23, 2010

North Korean Aggression: Reconsider Airlines in East Asia

Today, North Korea fired more than 100 artillery shells to Yeonpyeong Island, north west of South Korea. According to a Korean newspaper, 2 South Korean servicemen and 21 non-combatant residents were killed in the crossfire (“North Korea shells southern island, two fatalities reported”; Korea Joong Ang Daily; November 23, 2010). The reason for North Korean aggression is not clear at this stage. In any case, see the map below.

This is not the first time that Yeongpyeong Island is attacked by North Korea. Kim Jong Il went into a skirmish with South Korea in 1999 and 2002 near this island. If you see the map, you will find that Incheon airport (A on the map), boasting the hub of East Asia, is very close to such dangerous Yeongpyeong Island (3 on the map).

It is time that airlines in East Asia were reconsidered. The Narita-Haneda air systems, around Tokyo, must be arranged urgently, as alternative hubs to Incheon. Currently, Japanese political corridor is in a complete mess over minor scandals and partisan conflicts. Under short-lived Hatoyama administration, Land and Transport Minister then Seiji Maehara launched this ambitious plan, to restore Japanese economic strength.

Now, things have become more impending. This is not just for Japanese economy or status in the world, but for global public interest. The world needs the Narita-Haneda hub in East Asia! Act beyond petty power games in Nagata-cho!