Trilateral security cooperation between South Korea, the United States and Japan has become more difficult amid rising tensions between the two Asian nations, according to a U.S. congressional report.
In its latest report updated Aug. 1, the Congressional Research Service noted that four events since last year have caused South Korea-Japan ties to deteriorate: South Korea's effective termination of an agreement on women forced into wartime sexual slavery, incidents involving Japanese reconnaissance planes and South Korean naval vessels, South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese firms' compensation for forced labor victims, and Japan's adoption of export curbs against South Korea starting in June.
|This photo shows South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (L), U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono after trilateral talks in Bangkok on Aug. 2, 2019.|
"Trilateral security cooperation among the United States, Japan, and South Korea has become more difficult during this time of rising ROK-Japan tensions, which coincides with Seoul and Washington's rapprochement with Pyongyang," the report said, using the acronym for South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.
Three-way security cooperation has extended from efforts to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons program to countering China's growing military assertiveness.
In another possible setback to trilateral relations, South Korea has threatened to end a military information sharing agreement with Japan.
The report also outlined policy differences between Seoul and Washington, including on whether to offer concessions to North Korea and how to share the cost of stationing 28,500 American troops in the South.
It said Seoul "appears reluctant" to agree to Washington's request to participate in a maritime force the U.S. says will help protect shipping lanes off the coast of Iran. (Yonhap)
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