Reaching an agreement with a foreign government can be an arduous and intensive process. There are many factors, moving parts and interests that can be involved in the process of the negotiations that often take place between two nations. Being able to reach an agreement that can satisfy the needs of both parties that are involved is always a victory.
Diplomacy has rarely ever been a simple process. Diplomats are often charged with the difficult task of having to represent and vye for the priorities and needs of their superiors and also somehow develop an agreement that will leave another diplomat and the government that they represent and must answer to happy. Being charged with the task of making two separate entities happy is no easy task. It is a task that actually requires the ability to operate with a lot of tact, the ability to understand exactly what one’s negotiating partner actually wants from them and from the deal and the ability to piece together an agreement that will be able to meet the needs of various stakeholders While diplomats might not always be able to please everyone they are often able to reach a decision that will leave everyone who has a stake in the negotiations feeling as though they got something valuable from them. This is often the most important thing.
Effective international negotiators have often been responsible for bridging divides between countries and groups. For instance, Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the intergovernmental organization that is known as the United Nations is responsible for helping to negotiate a conflict between two political factions in the East African nation of Kenya. The conflict that was brewing between the two factions threatened to destabilize the country but Kofi Annan was able to help hold things together using the diplomacy skills that he developed throughout his career and his time leading the United Nations. While all of the situations that might bring a diplomat or government official to the negotiating table might not necessarily be that dire, they can still be challenging in their own right. For instance the historical issue of South Korean comfort women recently drew two countries in East Asia together for negotiations.
Despite the difficulties that are often presented when two international powers sit down at a negotiating table, government officials from South Korea and the East Asian island country of Japan were able to reach an agreement on a complex issue in December of 2015. The agreement that the two countries were able to reach on the issue of Korean comfort women has been called a diplomatic success.
After sitting down together to unpack the issue ministers from both Japan and Korea’s ministries of foreign affairs determined that they had found a way to resolve the issue regarding comfort women. According to the comfort women comfort women stories and comfort women testimonies the lives of comfort women were not easy. In order to provide a remedy for the things that Korean comfort women experienced the Japan’s foreign minister and Korea’s foreign minister decided that they would launch an NGO that is known as the Foundation for Reconciliation and Healing that would focus its efforts on helping comfort women and their relatives.
According to one report the Japanese government dedicated around $9 million to the organization. The agreement that the foreign ministries of South Korea and Japan were able to reach has been considered to be a diplomatic success. The agreement on the issue of comfort women has also opened up more room for international cooperation between South Korea and Japan.