Last week, Japan expanded controls over exports to South Korea of items ranging from ball bearings to precision machine tools on top of chemicals used to make advanced semiconductors and digital flat screens.
As part of our week-long series of seeking experts' views on various aspects of the Seoul, Tokyo trade row and their escalating discord, we focus on its threats on diplomatic and security cooperation.
Joining me live from Washington, D.C. is Scott Snyder, Director of U.S., Korea Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Scott, great to have you with us.
Scott, the latest pressure point between South Korea an Japan is, on the surface, a trade spat. Tokyo says the latest export restriction decision was about its national security. Seoul says it was a retaliation in a long-running dispute over Koreans forced to work for Japan during WWII. Others say it has a lot to do with geopolitics. What is this REALLY about?
Obviously, the toll of the dispute is also starting to go beyond the economic damage of the trade standoff. There are also concerns that the economic decoupling of South Korea and Japan could lead to a disintegration of a secured political cooperation between unwilling partners.
Is that a real possibility?
South Korean government officials have said that they were considering withdrawing from a vital intel-sharing deal that the two countries, which both host American military bases, signed in 2016 at Washington’s urging. What are the consequences of this action?
Despite the dangers of a deepening divide between its allies, the U.S. has been reluctant to actively get involved to repair the rift. Why so? What are your prospects from here on forth?
Scott Snyder, Senior Fellow at Council on Foreign Relations and our favorite go-to expert on security in Northeast Asia - many thanks, as always, for your insights.