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Asia's Game of Thrones
Beijing Decries Japan-South Korea Pact

Chinese relations with South Korea and Japan continue to be strained by the North Korean issue, and now Beijing is crying foul over an intelligence-sharing pact between the two countries. Reuters:

China’s Defence Ministry on Wednesday expressed serious concern about South Korea and Japan signing a military intelligence pact to share sensitive information on the threat posed by North Korea’s missile and nuclear activities.

The signing of the General Security of Military Information Agreement had originally been expected in 2012, but South Korea postponed it due to domestic opposition.

The case for the neighbors to pool intelligence has increased, however, as North Korea has been testing different types of missiles at a faster rate, and claims it has the capability to mount a nuclear warhead on a missile. 

Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said the move would add a new unsafe and unstable element to northeast Asia and smacked of a Cold War mentality.

China’s reaction underscores Beijing’s growing unhappiness with what it sees as an unfavorable shift in the region’s security balance. Tokyo and Seoul have adopted a more hawkish line against North Korea and are pursuing closer bilateral ties, in the wake of Pyongyang’s increasingly provocative nuclear weapons testing. South Korea and Japan are by no means natural allies; the relationship is clouded by both strategic differences and lingering historical animosities. Yet the increased security threat coming from North Korea has put those differences on the back burner for now.

The United States has played a key role in reinforcing that trend, bringing the two countries together for missile defense drills, facilitating early talks on intelligence sharing, and announcing the deployment of THAAD anti-missile systems to South Korea, over the vociferous objections of Beijing. China views such moves, part of the Obama Administration’s Asia rebalance, as a threat to its own standing in the region. But as China stamps its feet over the ongoing rapprochement, it would do well to consider how Beijing’s own inability (or unwillingness) to restrain Pyongyang has exacerbated the problem.

In any case, Beijing has made its objections clear, but the intelligence-sharing pact is a done deal. What remains to be seen is what further measures China might take to bring Tokyo and Seoul round to a friendlier position. Beijing may play the waiting game for now, calculating that a more favorable state of affairs could soon emerge with a shakeup in leadership. Security cooperation with Japan remains unpopular in South Korea, after all, and with South Korea’s president facing a likely dismissal and Donald Trump taking the White House in January, the power dynamics in Asia could change once again.

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  • Dhako

    Me thinks that you are Celebrating too early, chaps. In other words, as you may have noticed the South Koreans are having a torrid time of it lately, both economically and politically. And that is largely the reason which seems to be compelling for Ms Park (i.e., the President) to be leaving of office bit earlier than she had intended to do so, since her term of office was supposed to have ended in 2018.

    Moreover, as I said, the South Koreans economy is at floor (gasping for air). And the south Koreans’s Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) are practically seeing red, where their quarterly profits are concern. And the fact that they find themselves locked out of the huge continental size Chinese market, in which they used to depend on it previously also has large thing to do with that state of reality where their bottom-line is concern. Of course, most CEOs in South-Korean’s companies seems to know for a fact that Ms Park’s political dalliance with Mr Obama’s THAAD system, as well as the idea of getting close to Mr Shinzo Abe of Japan on “intelligence sharing” has been disaster for them.

    Hence, once this lady (Ms Park) retires to write her own political memoirs along with the idea of leisurely knitting and weaving a ball of threads as a colorful jumpers, in her spare-time from writing that memoirs, then the whole idea of South-Korean’s strategic “tilt” towards Japan will be up for “re-evaluation”. Also in that strategical recalculation will, of course, involve the idea of whether South-Korean’s needs to have the THAAD system, if some other “method” of assurance can be had from China in-terms of what likely threat North Korea is to the South Korea.

    Now I am not saying that the whole “strategical equation|” of South Korea will be jettison altogether or will be repudiated. But the point I am belaboring in here, is that even the most dimmest intellect in South Korean’s elites knows now the “economical and financial cost” of getting the wrong side of China. And in that sense, if I were you, I would put down your “strategical fanfare trumpet”. At least for now. And specifically given the fact that Mr Trump is going to be around for the next four (4) years in Washington, then the South Korean’s elites have every reason to “re-look” whatever “strategical deal” Ms Park, as a President of South Korea, have struck with the out-going Obama’s administration.

    • JR

      BREVITY!!!!! Jesus Christ man, can’t you tell somebody in charge that if you want people to read your propaganda BS you need to make it readable.

      • Dhako

        sorry, JR, low grade and mean intellect like yours weren’t meant to to bother themselves with this sort of argument. And, by the by, I am sure Homer Simpson has the sort of fitting discourse that is to your liking. So, please, see to it to make yourself available for his cartoon channel.

        • JR

          See, Dhako, that’s what I’m talking about. Notice how much better your post was because it was short. Your ad hominem game is weak due to English not being your first language. We can work on that.

          • Jim__L

            Critiquing the trolls can be a lot of fun, eh?

            Also, giving them unsolicited advice on how their home countries should run their affairs is good. Don’t play games with it, make it heartfelt, in accord with traditional American wisdom, and with a genuine interest in their country’s and their countrymens’ well-being. I mean, how often do you get the chance to talk to someone who (quite possibly) is the representative of a foreign government? Sure, they’re probably a low-level functionary, but a) if he’s young, he may well rise, and b) if something is interesting enough he might run it up his chain of command (who may be listening in anyway.)

            Stay cheerful and patient. China is on its way up. They have a fondness for effective Western ideas already, from about the same time period that Conservatives admire. China’s demonstrating that those ideas are effective will make it easier for us to make the case for those ideas here.

  • Fat_Man

    If the Chinese do not want the Japaneses and the So-Koreans to ally, perhaps they should euthanize the NoKo regime, and adopt less imperious tactics when dealing with their neighbors.

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