Japan’s leader visits Seoul
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan is in South Korea today, where he is meeting President Yoon Suk Yeol in an effort to nurture a fledgling détente. Yesterday, in Seoul, the two leaders agreed to press ahead with joint efforts to improve bilateral ties — even though Kishida did not apologize for Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula in the early 20th century.
Kishida went no further than saying that Japan stood by past statements, when some of his predecessors expressed remorse and apologies. He said that his “heart ached” when he thought of the suffering of the Koreans, but his words fell short of the clear and direct apology that many South Koreans, including the head of the main opposition party, had demanded.
Yoon said he would not dwell on seeking such an apology, despite criticism from some Koreans: “It’s not something we can unilaterally demand; it’s something that should come naturally from the other side’s sincerity.” Instead, Yoon urged his nation to focus on the immediate challenges from North Korea and China.
Context: Kishida’s two-day trip follows a visit in March by Yoon to Tokyo. It means that shuttle diplomacy is back on track after regular exchanges between the countries’ leaders ended in 2011 over historical differences.
U.S. readies for immigration surge
The U.S. is preparing to lift a pandemic-era emergency health rule that prevented hundreds of thousands of people from entering the country. It is bracing for a crush of people at the border with Mexico — and a flare in political tensions.
The U.S. is expecting as many as 13,000 migrants each day beginning Friday, immediately after the measure expires. That’s up from about 6,000 migrants on a typical day. Three cities in Texas declared a state of emergency, and President Biden recently ordered 1,500 troops to the border.
More people are coming from far-flung nations in economic distress or political turmoil — like Venezuela, China, India and Russia. Inside the U.S., the debate over the broken immigration system is still polarized and overheated, posing a serious political risk as the 2024 campaign starts.
Context: The order, known as Title 42, allowed the U.S. government to swiftly expel citizens of several countries back to Mexico.
Asylum: A tough new rule that disqualifies asylum seekers who did not first seek protection elsewhere will go into effect on Thursday.
The debate gained steam in February when the Globe and Mail newspaper said classified intelligence reports showed that China tried to manipulate Canadian elections — including in Vancouver. The reports have not been made public, but are said to conclude that China tried to ensure victory for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party in the two most recent federal elections and support for candidates of Chinese descent.
China’s former consul general in Vancouver sought to groom local Chinese Canadian politicians, according to the reports. Sim’s rival is also calling for China’s interference to be investigated. Sim rejects claims that Beijing meddled, and instead points to his tireless campaigning and more appealing policies to explain his landslide victory. “If I was a Caucasian male, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” he said.
Analysis: Canada’s former ambassador to China said that Canada was seen by Beijing as a target of influence partly because Beijing sought to use Canada as a lever to press the U.S. to soften its opposition to China.
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Around the World
Sherpa guides are leaving the industry of taking trekkers up Mount Everest and encouraging their children to pursue other careers. There are many reasons for the shift: The job is dangerous, the pay is modest and there’s scant job security.
“I see no future,” Kami Rita Sherpa, a renowned guide pictured above in blue, told his son.
SPOTLIGHT ON AFRICA
On the run, again
Sudan’s war, sparked by two feuding generals, has driven more than 100,000 civilians across borders, and aid workers say as many as 800,000 could be forced to flee in the coming months.
Thousands have fled to Egypt and Saudi Arabia and to relatively safer towns within Sudan. For many on the run, flight is not new. “The really, really sad thing about this is that this is not the first time these people are fleeing,” said Charlotte Hallqvist, a spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for South Sudan.
Sudan had more than a million refugees from countries already torn apart by civil war, like Syria and South Sudan. It also had millions of internally displaced people fleeing conflict within Sudan. Now, as the new fighting enters a fourth week, these people are on the move again, facing another wave of violence and trauma.
In the Darfur region of Sudan, more than three million were driven from their homes during a civil war in the early 2000s. Just weeks before the latest violence broke out, local authorities had started planning the gradual voluntary return of refugee communities in Darfur, said Toby Harward, principal situation coordinator in Darfur for the U.N.H.C.R. Instead, more are now fleeing the region. — Lynsey Chutel, a Times writer in Johannesburg