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.
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