March 10, 2022

Japan cautiously welcomes South Korean president-elect

Featuring Dr. Duyeon Kim

Source: The Associated Press

Journalist Mari Yamaguchi

Japan’s government on Thursday welcomed the election of a new president in South Korea who supports stronger ties with Washington and Tokyo, as officials and experts expressed hope for an improvement in badly strained relations.

Yoon Suk Yeol, a conservative former top prosecutor and foreign policy neophyte, was elected president on Wednesday to replace outgoing liberal Moon Jae-in, under whose leadership bilateral relations sank to their lowest level in years because of disputes over wartime history.

“Japan-South Korea relations are in a very severe condition, and we cannot leave them as they are,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters Thursday.


“We can expect (Yoon) to try to compartmentalize addressing historical issues and working together on mutual challenges,” said Duyeon Kim of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for a New American Security. “But Seoul’s hands could be tied if public sentiment heats up against Japan unless his administration conducts trilateral cooperation in private with Washington and Tokyo without publicizing it.”

Read the full story and more from The Associated Press.


  • Dr. Duyeon Kim

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Indo-Pacific Security Program

    Duyeon Kim, PhD, is an adjunct senior fellow with the Indo-Pacific Security Program at CNAS. Her expertise includes the two Koreas, nuclear nonproliferation, arms control, Eas...