This seminar explores the dynamics of Japanese-South Korean (ROK) relations regarding the North Korean nuclear threat, under the Park Geun-hye (and Moon Jae-in) and Shinzo Abe (and Suga) governments. In particular, it explores how security cooperation between Japan and South Korea differed following the third and fourth (as well as fifth and sixth) North Korean nuclear tests. In contrast to existing explanations, this lecture focuses on the convergence and divergence of strategic priorities between the two countries, apart from external threat perception. It argues that the credibility of the U.S.' commitment to protect its allies is a constant, regarding the increasing North Korean nuclear threat. Therefore, it is not considered a defining factor in Japan-ROK relations. Finally, cooperation and conflict over historical issues influence security relations between the two countries, but they are not constant variables. This lecture argues that convergent/divergent interactions in strategic priorities, and the degree of discord and cooperation in historical issues between the two nations determine the levels of security cooperation between Japan and South Korea.
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