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Yoon works hard on ROK-US alliance and Korea-Japan relations

Yoon works hard on ROK-US alliance and Korea-Japan relations

Posted November. 09, 2022 08:11,   

Updated November. 09, 2022 08:11


The most notable part of the Yoon Suk-yeol administration's diplomatic and security moves is its efforts to normalize the ROK-US alliance and restore the Korea-Japan relations.

"The Korea-U.S. relationship has been strengthened into a comprehensive alliance that integrates security and economy," said an official from the presidential office. The leaders of the United States and South Korea held a summit meeting 11 days after the inauguration of the Yoon Suk-yeol administration in May, followed by the NATO summit in June and the United Nations General Assembly in September to agree on comprehensive economic cooperation. The level of security cooperation has also been significantly lifted, with the two countries agreeing to deploy U.S. strategic assets on time at the recent Korea-U.S. Annual Security Council Meeting (SCM).

Korea-Japan relations are also under recovery. The two nations are discussing the issue of forced labor victims during the Japanese occupation. Some observers predict that the two leaders will meet and begin consultations this month, such as at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. However, some pessimists also project that it will be challenging to make progress practically due to the significant differences between the two countries over Japan's not being a contrite issue.

Yet, Korea-China relations are considered to be a stumbling block. Potential issues of contention highlighted include the Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s sympathizing with the U.S. policy of containment against China by setting the “Ahn Mi Gyeong Se” (security for the United States, economy for the world) from “Ahn Mi Gyeong Joong” (security for the United States, economy for China). Gaps in positions over the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System) issue may also hinder bilateral relations.

The Yoon Suk-yeol administration tried to improve relations with North Korea by presenting the “Bold Initiative,” a roadmap for North Korea’s nuclear program. However, North Korea responded with concentrated provocations. The fact that there is no clear deterrence plan against North Korea is also a diplomatic and security issue that the current administration must resolve.

Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com