August 15, 2019

Tension between South Korea and Japan could hurt US goals in the Pacific — and China is watching

Featuring Eric Sayers

Source: Defense News

Journalist Aaron Mehta

The tweet came Aug. 2, following an emergency meeting of the South Korean government. It was a photo of President Moon Jae-in, sent out from the government’s official Twitter feed, with text plastered over it and a succinct message:

“We will never again lose to Japan.”

In what the U.S. has declared to be an era of great power competition, part of the plan to blunt Chinese influence in the region comes from relying on Japan and South Korea, two key American partners, to focus on shared threats in the region. But since October, new rifts have formed in the Japan-South Korea relationship, with the two countries in the last few weeks trading major economic blows and neither side dialing down the rhetoric.

Now, there are concerns that what have been social and economic tensions could boil over and destroy a key intelligence sharing arrangement, one the U.S. had hoped to use as a platform for building greater defense cooperation between the two neighbors. Should that happen, it may impact America’s long-term strategy in the region.

Read the full article and more in Defense News.

Authors

  • Eric Sayers

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Asia-Pacific Security Program

    Eric Sayers is an Adjunct Senior Fellow for the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Throughout his career, Mr. Sayers has worked ...