Japan and South Korea: A ‘virtual’ strategic partnership
Date of this Version
Tokyo and Seoul have long pursed mutually-shared objectives in their respective security policies, being linked in a state of ‘quasi-alliance’ with the United States though their separate bilateral defense treaties. Through this medium Japan and the ROK have exhibited a synergy in their approaches to regional security issues such as ‘North Korea’s nuclearization’ and weapons proliferation, but much of this has until now been pursed on parallel tracks, rather than through direct bilateral interaction. As perceived dangers from a more bellicose Pyongyang, a more assertive ‘rising China’, and a multiplicity of territorial disputes press harder on the two states, the trend is moving toward deeper and intensified bilateral cooperation. Indeed, the pursuit of a bona fide ‘strategic partnership’ with Seoul is one of Tokyo’s top priorities, mirroring the recent security pacts with Australia and India. Though discord over the ‘history issue’ has continued to impede what appears to be a natural alignment between the two powers, there is evidence that such a strategic partnership is beginning to crystalize. This paper therefore assesses the content, problems, and prospects of what may emerge at a key strategic relationship for both parties, and examines its implications for the regional security order.
Journal, Book or Conference Title
East Asia Security Symposium and Conference 东亚安全座谈谈论会
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