Japan's and South Korea's Role in East Asian Security?
General Walter 'Skip' Sharp, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea, surveys the Inchon shoreline from a Republic of Korea amphibious ship participating in a reenactment of the 1950 Inchon Landing (Photo: Donna Miles)  



Lt Col James B. Zientek

USAWC Class of 2010

The views expressed in the document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Department of the Army, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Department of the Navy, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.



The extended deployment of our nation's military to Iraq and Afghanistan has stripped away forces once dedicated to the Asia-Pacific Theater, a volatile region of significant political and economic importance. This has created a void in regional security that countries like China and India may try to fill, and others such as Japan and South Korea may be forced to fill.

This AY-10 USAWC Resident Student author believes it is possible that the reduction in U.S. forces, coupled with a lack of political focus in the region, may lead to less desirable outcomes which run counter to U.S. goals and objectives for the region. He argues that the rise of China, economically, militarily, and politically has caused some concern particularly amongst other countries in the region, and that North Korea continues to defy international convention and threaten our allies. He believes that in order to meet these challenges the U.S. must expect Japan and South Korea to take on an increasing role for security in the region. He concludes that although an historical animosity between both countries will make a cooperative relationship difficult, it is in the interests of both Japan and South Korea to ensure a secure and stable environment that allows for peaceful co-existence and continued development.

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This page last updated on 14 January 2011.

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