Washington is betting on a South Korea-Japan alliance, facing China, North Korea and Russia in the Pacific

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President Biden is trying to build a South Korea-Japan alliance to deal with rising tensions and threats in the Western Pacific theater, by inviting heads of state from both countries together at Camp David.

With 18 AEGIS destroyers, more than 40 attack submarines, around 600 frigates and more than XNUMX combat aircraft, the military power represented by a coordinated action by the naval and air forces of South Korea and Japan would be considerable. . It could even prove to be sufficient to contain, on their own, the rise in power of the Chinese, Russian and North Korean armies in this area.

This military potential has certainly not escaped Washington, which struggling to keep up with the industrial and technological pace imposed by Beijing. However, and unlike European countries that have managed to move beyond their belligerent history, Seoul and Tokyo have always had, in recent decades, relations that are tumultuous to say the least.

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In question, the period from 1910 to 1945, marked by theinvasion and subsequent occupation of the Korean Peninsula by the Empire of Japan. This was accompanied by numerous abuses perpetrated by the imperial forces, as well as the massive exploitation of Korean labor considered “inferior” by the occupier.

If, of course, modern Japan has little to do with its imperial ancestor, resentment remains strong in South Korea against Japan, and is regularly exploited for electoral purposes with nationalist tendencies, in particular to demand reparations from from Tokyo.

A South Korea-Japan alliance would form considerable naval and air power in the Western Pacific theater.
A South Korea-Japan alliance would form considerable naval and air power in the Western Pacific theater.

For its part, the Japanese political class, and more particularly the nationalist-leaning Liberal Democratic Party, in power since 2012, believes that it has already settled the matter, and does not intend to serve as a stepping stone for South Korean domestic policy.

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If certain advances had been obtained by Washington in the 2010s, relations between the two countries deteriorated again in 2019, to the point that a law was voted by the South Korean Parliament, prohibiting the normalization of relations with Tokyo as long as an official apology, and financial compensation, will not have been acquired.

LOGO meta defense 70 Military alliances | South Korea | UNITED STATES

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