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Can South Korea and Japan Work Together Despite Differences?

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Floyd Ciruli

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The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research March 16 panel of experts on Asian foreign policy believe that a significant strategic goal in the Pacific is to get Korea and Japan working together with the U.S. Can they overcome historical disagreements and join together for the security of the Indo-Pacific? In their comments to the question, they said:

Nobukatsu Kanehara

Nobukatsu Kanehara – Senior Advisor to the Asia Group, Tokyo; Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary to Prime Minister Abe; Deputy Secretary-General of the National Security Secretariat. “Will South Korea’s incoming president Yoon manage the country’s challenges in an a la carte fashion, or play a leading role in addressing Indo-Pacific issues? The expectation is that Yoon will try to strengthen ties with Japan, but the domestic audience in both countries remains strongly resistant to mending the relationship.

Junya Nishino

Junya Nishino – Professor, Director of Center for Contemporary Korean Studies, Keio University. “Last week in the South Korean presidential election the conservative candidate [Yoon Suk-yeol] won by a very narrow margin. We will see a dramatic shift in South Korea’s military forces.” “In 2017, the Moon government tried to restore relationships with China. Now many South Koreans realize that mending ties with China was a fantasy.” “The Biden administration’s strategy needs a strong Japan-South Korea tie.”

Christopher Hill

Christopher Hill – Newly confirmed ambassador to Serbia, former ambassador to Korea, head of U.S. Delegation to Six-Party Talks. “We don’t have a world war, but we have a world crisis. When the history books are written they will talk about the issue of the corona virus and the collapse of the global order from Russia attacking its neighbor.” “I strongly believe that the ROK and Japan, two successful democracies in Asia, need to work together and get beyond their issues of the past.”