The GPM Global Forecast is a bi-weekly, members-only article series for 2016. It provides analysis and short-term forecasting on key military, political, and economic events around the globe.
Trilateral US, Japan, and South Korea Summit Scheduled for March 31 in Washington
Leaders from the US East Asia security alliance will meet in Washington ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit next week. The main subject of conversation will likely be the recent uptick in hostilities on the Korean Peninsula.
Any trilateral US-Japan-ROK summit is closely watched for any signs of greater cooperation between Tokyo and Seoul. Frictions between the two allies have long been a headache for security planners in Washington, and efforts are constantly being made to help the two get over their historical differences so that they can coordinate on regional security.
Military intelligence sharing between South Korea and Japan is a good case-in-point. An agreement to share satellite imagery and intelligence data broke down in 2012 when the bottom fell out of ROK-Japan relations. Since then, steps have been made towards coming to an agreement. One positive development was the surprise deal on the comfort women issue in December 2012, tenuous and unpopular though it may be. Another one is the bellicose attitude of the Kim Jong-un government in North Korea, which has starkly demonstrated the need for greater strategic cooperation within the alliance.
Now an intelligence-sharing link has finally been set up between the alliance as of early 2016. Notably the data only pertains to North Korea, a fact made explicit by the South Korean government. This qualifier stems from the fact that Seoul trying to be careful not to antagonize China, the country’s largest trading partner.