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Issues & Insights Vol. 13 – No. 7 – Hanging Together: Improving Deterrence Through ROK-Japan Cooperation

On Feb. 4-10, 2013, in a period characterized by US difficulties to articulate exactly what the US rebalance to Asia means, rising concerns among Asian allies regarding the impact of US budget challenges on its defense commitments; recent domestic elections in the US, Japan, and the ROK; and worsening relations between Japan and the ROK, 15 Pacific Forum Young Leaders (YLs) joined senior experts in Maui for the US-Japan and US-ROK Strategic Dialogues sponsored by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The agendas for the two bilateral talks mirrored each other: perceptions of the US pivot or rebalance, recent domestic elections and their impact on the alliance, views of China’s role in Northeast Asia, extended deterrence, modernizing the alliance, leveraging alliance networks, and the future of the alliance. Young Leaders attended the track-2 dialogues as observers; however, they were encouraged to engage senior participants during the conference and on the sidelines to share their perspectives and ask questions about current security and policy issues facing the alliances.