JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA SECURITY COOPERATION: DRIVERS AND OBSTACLES
Davidson, Jayson M.
Weiner, Robert J.
Glosny, Michael A.
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Japan and South Korea’s bilateral security relationship has experienced periods of both cooperation and friction. Despite several contemporary similarities, expanded security cooperation between these two countries remains elusive. Clarifying why Japan and South Korea pursue cooperation at some times but avoid it at others provides a deeper understanding of the relationship between these two East Asian nations. This thesis analyzes the influence of international factors (China, North Korea, and the United States) and evaluates the impact of public opinion and domestic leaders, especially with regard to animosity over historical issues. The research reviews how and when each of the above factors encourages or discourages cooperation, utilizing both qualitative and quantitative methods. In an attempt to capture variation and identify trends in security cooperation levels, the thesis examines Japanese and South Korean defense white papers that catalog security-related meetings, exchanges, and agreements. The thesis confirms that security cooperation levels fluctuate significantly between cooperation and friction, and contends that domestic factors mostly discourage cooperation while international factors have more of an encouraging effect. In fact, domestic factors appear to play a role at least equal to—but potentially more important than—international factors in explaining this fluctuation.
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