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PacNet #44 – Korea-Japan Cooperation Can Stabilize and Balance the Alliances with the U.S.

On August 4 and 5, 1999, the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Korean Navy held their first-ever joint exercises, heralding a new era for Korea-Japan security cooperation. The joint exercises – which introduced the Korean Navy to a receptive Japanese public – began on August 2 with two Korean warships and 3 JMSDF destroyers training together in Pusan. Until recently, joint exercises with Japan would have been loudly protested, but the fact that there was little comment pro or con in Korea may be the calm that comes with changing winds. Such cooperation not only serves to boost Korea-Japan relations – it also will play an important role in legitimizing a continued American presence in Northeast Asia.