1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036
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Tensions with China are raising the stakes in the South China Sea. The looming power transition in North Korea casts a dark shadow over the future of peninsular stability, and Washington must rely on Seoul and Tokyo
Download Audio as MP3 to maintain peace. But while the U.S.-South Korea relationship has thrived this past year, the U.S.-Japan relationship has faltered. At this event, expert panelists will discuss current U.S. relations with South Korea and Japan and consider ways to enhance the alliances. Nicholas Eberstadt, the Henry Wendt Scholar in Political Economy at AEI, will moderate a discussion between L. Gordon Flake, executive director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation; John Park, a senior research associate at the United States Institute of Peace; and AEI resident scholar and director of Japan studies Michael Auslin.
|2:30||Panelists:||John Park, United States Institute of Peace|
|L. Gordon Flake, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation|
|Michael Auslin, AEI|
|Moderator:||Nicholas Eberstadt, AEI|
WASHINGTON, SEPTEMBER 28, 2010--Experts gathered at AEI to examine the U.S.-Japan and U.S.-South Korea alliances and the prospects for trilateral cooperation. John Park called the U.S.-South Korea alliance a "lynchpin" for regional security and stressed the importance of implementing the 2009 Joint Vision Statement and the U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement to strengthen relations. L. Gordon Flake argued that revitalization of the trilateral relationship among Japan, South Korea, and the United States should focus on ensuring peace and prosperity in East Asia and not be solely based on how to deal with the North Korean security threat. AEI's Michael Auslin argued that Tokyo's unstable political environment and the lack of an overarching foreign policy have prevented the U.S.-Japan alliance from further cooperation; he also questioned the fundamental value of the U.S. bilateral alliance structure in Asia.
- "With respect to the U.S.-ROK alliance, there are two pillars, and these two pillars have been reiterated by the South Korean president as well as President Obama. The first is further implementation of what is called the Joint Vision Statement of June 2009. It's a very interesting blue print, roadmap, and it lays out a very comprehensive series of ways that the two allies can interact and deepen the relationship, not only in the bilateral or regional sense, but also globally. There's mention of things such as postconflict reconstruction in Afghanistan [and] deepening [the] relationship between [the] two countries on things like green energy. The second, also mentioned in the Joint Vision Statement but something that is a stand-alone pillar, is the KORUS FTA [Korea-U.S. free trade agreement]."
- "It's important to note that although it's not a formal trilateral coordination and oversight, there has been a resumption, and in a remarkable way, of trilateral coordination and cooperation between the U.S. and the two allies in the region on high senior levels but also in detailed working levels. Again, that's in part thanks to Pyongyang and Beijing. But I think it's useful particularly given this year; this is the year 2010, the one hundredth anniversary of Japanese annexation of South Korea, and people who are watching the relationship were terrified that this would be one of the worst years in history with fodder for nationalism, and in the end what happened, was again, thanks to Pyongyang and Beijing, we were forced to focus on our commonalities and common strategic interests."
--L. Gordon Flake
- "What I would say is that the repeated concern that you hear in Tokyo, or have heard in Seoul, or hear in Washington, over resolving the issues and problems of the day may indicate that again, the set of structures we have, while extraordinarily successful and useful so far, may not be the most flexible ones that we should be depending on in the future, and it might be worthwhile to explore other approaches."
Michael Auslin, AEI's director of Japan studies, specializes in U.S.-East Asian relations, Asian maritime security, and Japanese foreign and security policy. Before joining AEI, Mr. Auslin was an associate professor of history and a senior research fellow at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. He has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, a Marshall Memorial Fellow by the German Marshall Fund, and a Fulbright and Japan Foundation scholar. His writings on Japan and Japanese diplomacy include the books Negotiating with Imperialism: The Unequal Treaties and the Culture of Japanese Diplomacy (Harvard University Press, 2006) and Japan Society: Celebrating a Century, 1907-2007 (Japan Society Gallery, 2007), and the report Securing Freedom: The U.S.-Japanese Alliance in a New Era.
Nicholas Eberstadt is the Henry Wendt Scholar in Political Economy at AEI. A political economist and demographer by training, Mr. Eberstadt is also a senior adviser to the National Board of Asian Research, a member of the visiting committee at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a member of the Global Leadership Council at the World Economic Forum. He researches and writes extensively on economic development, foreign aid, global health, demographics, and poverty. He has written over a dozen books and monographs, including The Poverty of Communism (Transaction, 1988), The Tyranny of Numbers (AEI Press, 1995), The End of North Korea (AEI Press, 1999), Korea's Future and the Great Powers (University of Washington Press, 2001), The North Korean Economy: Between Crisis and Catastrophe (Transaction, 2007), Europe's Coming Demographic Challenge: Unlocking the Value of Health (AEI Press, 2007), The Poverty of ‘The Poverty Rate': Measure and Mismeasure of Want in Modern America (AEI Press, 2008), and, most recently, Policy and Performance in Divided Korea during the Cold War Era: 1945-91 (AEI Press, 2010).
L. Gordon Flake is the executive director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, which he joined in 1999. He was previously a senior fellow and associate director of the program on conflict resolution at the Atlantic Council of the United States and director for research and academic affairs at the Korea Economic Institute of America. Mr. Flake is coeditor with Park Roh-byug of New Political Realities in Seoul: Working toward a Common Approach to Strengthen U.S.-Korean Relations (Mansfield Foundation, 2008) and coeditor with Scott Snyder of Paved with Good Intentions: The NGO Experience in North Korea (Praeger, 2003), and he has published extensively on policy issues in Asia. He is a regular contributor on Korean issues in the U.S. and Asian press and has traveled to North Korea numerous times. Mr. Flake is a member of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies and serves on the board of the U.S. committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific, the board of the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, and the advisory council of the Korea Economic Institute of America.
John S. Park is a senior research associate at the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), where he directs Northeast Asia Track 1.5 projects. Mr. Park is codirector of the U.S.-China Project on Crisis Avoidance and Cooperation, which is a collaborative endeavor led by USIP, the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, and Fudan University. He is also codirector of the Trilateral Dialogue in Northeast Asia (TDNA). Co-run with the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security and the Institute for International Policy Studies, TDNA brings together government and military officials from the United States, South Korea, and Japan. Before joining USIP, Mr. Park worked on military privatization projects at Goldman Sachs and was the project leader of the North Korea Analysis Group at the Harvard Kennedy School. His recent publications include "The Rise of China and Its Impact on the North Pacific Security Environment" (Korea Economic Institute, 2010), "North Korea, Inc.: Gaining Insights into North Korean Regime Stability from Recent Commercial Activities" (USIP, 2009), and "North Korea's Nuclear Policy Behavior: Deterrence and Leverage" in Nuclear Weapons and Security in 21st Century Asia (Stanford University Press, 2008).