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In the shadow of the United States, Japan and South Korea operate a rapprochement in the fields of security and the economy


Satisfied in Washington after the first summit in twelve years bringing together the leaders of Japan and South Korea. Very attentive to the improvement in ties between their two East Asian allies, the United States welcomed on Friday March 17 a “new chapter” between Tokyo and Seoul.

The day before, at the end of a day concluded with an informal dinner around a sukiyaki, South Korean President Yoon Seok-youl and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged to relaunch high-level exchanges. level, trade links and security cooperation. A real renewal between the two neighbors whose relations were at their lowest because of the memorial wounds linked to the colonization of the Korean peninsula by Japan between 1910 and 1945.

Mr. Yoon pleaded for the two countries, “who share democratic values, cooperate on security, economic issues and challenges for the planet”. Her host compared improving relationships to cherry blossoms “which began this week in Tokyo, after a long winter season, like that of our bilateral ties”. And Mr. Kishida to point out “emergency” to strengthen their exchanges “in the current security environment”.

Military Intelligence Sharing

As if to prove them right, North Korea had launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, in the presence of the leader, Kim Jong-un, and his daughter, Ju-ae, a few hours before the meeting. The day before, Chinese ships had entered the waters near the Senkaku / Diaoyu islets, which Beijing disputes with Japan in the East China Sea.

In terms of announcements, MM. Kishida and Yoon plan to reinstate the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). This framework for sharing intelligence without having to go through the United States dates from 2016. It is considered an all too rare concrete example of military cooperation between the two countries. It was shelved in 2019 by progressive South Korean President Moon Jae-in (2017-2022), Mr. Yoon’s predecessor.

“We must end the vicious circle of mutual hostility and work together to defend the common interests of our two countries,” said South Korean President Yoon Seok-youl.

In the economic field – Mr. Yoon was accompanied by the leaders of four major conglomerates, Samsung, Hyundai, SK and LG – Tokyo lifted restrictions on exports of three chemicals, fluorinated polyimide, hydrogen fluoride and photoresists, essential to South Korea’s semiconductor industry, and is expected to put its neighbor back on the “white list” of countries enjoying preferential trade treatment. Seoul will, therefore, withdraw the complaint filed with the World Trade Organization to protest against these measures.

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