A time-tested security apparatus may be unraveling . . .
The U.S.-led security architecture for Japan and South Korea is under threat by the worsening state of Japan-South Korea relations. In particular, two important security mechanisms are at risk: The Trilateral Information Security Arrangement and the General Security of Military Information Agreement. The two agreements have allowed the three countries to maintain close co-ordination on security threats in East Asia and the North Pacific, especially North Korea. Without such co-ordination, the security apparatus that has kept both countries safe from North Korea’s provocative missile tests could collapse.
In the absence of the cat, mice . . .
Amid rising Japan-South Korea tensions North Korea felt emboldened to conduct another missile test last week of its new, short-range missile, the KN-23. In the same week, Chinese and Russian military aircraft violated the Korean Air Defense Information Zone (KADIZ), prompting the South Korean Air Force to respond. The skirmish occurred over islands in East Asian waters that are claimed by several regional players. All of this raises the question: where is U.S. leadership? It seems President Donald Trump has not been paying close attention to the escalating tension between America’s two closest Asian allies, leaving a power vacuum that is being hastily filled by China and to a lesser extent Russia. Even North Korea opted not to appear at a negotiation meeting with a U.S. envoy in Bangkok during the annual ASEAN forum in June. Without effective U.S. leadership, the security architecture that has sustained peace in East Asia could start to unravel with alarming rapidity.
Canada looks on from the sidelines . . .
On July 31, the Government of Canada stated that it “unequivocally condemns North Korea’s latest launch of short-range ballistic missiles.” Canada could have offered to help mediate between its two long-time allies, Japan and South Korea, but it is focused on its own unresolved problems with another Asian giant, China, after the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and the detention in China of two high-profile Canadians.
- CSIS: Only the U.S. can pull Japan and Korea back from the brink
- Foreign Policy: North Korean missile dismissed as ‘standard’ by Trump threatens U.S. Military
- Arirang News: Total of 5 aircrafts from China, Russia violates KADIZ
- Global Affairs Canada: Canada condemns North Korean missile launches