United States Foreign Relationship With Japan and Korea

Introduction

The United States foreign policy is how the United States relates with other countries in the world. It has been subject to many changes since the foes and friends of the country have been changing from time to time. However, it is important to note that the country has major allies with countries from all over the world and most importantly the European content and this can be evidenced that it advocated for the formation of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with countries from Western Europe and North America. However, it is also important to note that the country also has allies from other regions in the world and one of the most important allies of the United States includes countries from the Asian region. The most notable are Japan and South Korea and these countries are very influential in the region and many experts have seen this friendship as a means by the United States to further its interest in the region. These countries are some of the most developed in the region as well as in the world1.

The foreign policy of the United States is backed by the world largest economy and hence many countries are inclined to be in the good book of the country. It is important to note that the United States of America have for a long time adopted the international policy of ensuring that the world upholds democracy and also that the world order is always right. It is in this respect that the country has been viewed and has been acting as the world prefect. This has elicited a lot of criticism with the country being viewed as meddling with other countries’ business. This brought about a situation in which the country had many enemies although some countries still remained loyal to the country. While many countries still remained loyal to the country, others have sidelined the alliance and this has also helped in elevating terrorism directed towards United States and its allies2.

Japan Relation with the United States

During the Second World War although the United States was not involved in the war during the early stages of the war, it was compelled to enter the war officially when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. During the course of the war, America would team up with the Allies which included Britain and all its colonies and former colonies, France and Russia. However, the most influential countries in the allies were the United States, Britain, France, Russia and Canada. The allies went ahead and won the war after Germany surrendered. However, the end of the war was marked by the United States bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two major cities of Japan. After the war was officially over, the allies went ahead and occupied Japan, the first foreign occupation in the country since its unification. The United States led the occupation with support from such countries as India, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. The occupation ended in the year 1952 when the two countries signed the San Francisco Treaty3.

After the signing of the San Francisco Treaty, the relationship between Japan and United States was put on a footing of equality for the first time in April 1952. This equality had its foundation when forty-eight allied nations signed a peace treaty with Japan. The relationship between Japan and the United States had a nominal outlook since the United States provided economical assistance to Japan directly.

In 1954, the countries accomplished an encouraging balance of payment and this can be credited to the fact that the United States was spending in Japan through aid and military4.

The dependence of the Japanese people towards the United States gradually faded away as the results of the Second World War slowly started fading from their memories and the United States increased its trade with the country. Japan experienced an elated feeling of self-confidence and this was very instrumental in the country’s application of its organizational skills and resources to restore the economy of the country. Due to this effect, Japan started agitating for greater independence from the United States and its influence. This was especially witnessed by the attitude of the Japanese in regards to the military bases of the United States in the four main islands of the country and also in the Okinawa Prefecture5.

The left-wing was pressuring the government of Japan to disassociate with the United States albeit the need for the country to be protected by the United States military. There was a popular desire in Japan for various islands to be returned to the country and these islands included Okinawa and Ogasawara and these sentiments could be traced back to the year 1953. The United States had relinquished its control of the Bonin Islands as far back as the year 1953. However, the United States was reluctant to give up its control of Okinawa and this was attributed to the fact that during the San Francisco Treaty, the countries had agreed that the Islands were under the administration of the United States Military. According to Article 3 of the peace treaty, the United States Military administration was in control of the Islands for a woolly period. However, there was agitation that resulted in a resolution under the DIET in June 1956 which called for the return of Okinawa to the country. Today, the relationship between Japan and the United States is marked by economical and military cooperation6.

Korea relation with the United States

The modern relationship between the Republic of Korea and the United States can be traced back to the years immediately after the Second World War. The United States Military helped Southern Korea to liberate itself from the colonial rule of Japan. During the Korean War, the United States under the auspices of the United Nations helped South Korea to fight back the North Korean invasion. This has ensured that the two countries have a mutual security interest and the United States is quick to point out that it has an agenda in ensuring that the people of Korea can enjoy a stable political and economical atmosphere. One of the objectives of the United States is the stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region of Northeast Asia. As an expression of this objective, United States has deployed over forty thousand troops in South Korea7.

South Korea has benefited very much from the relationship with the United States and this can be expressed by the huge economical boost the country has benefited due to trading with the United States. It is also in the same respect that South Korea due to its relationship with the United States has been viewed as one of the most influential motivators for developing countries. It is also enjoying military protection from the United States and this has played a very important role in stabilizing the country and hence ensuring that development projects are continuing without any hindrances.

United States Military Presence in East Asia

United States Military Presence in Japan

In the year 1952, Japan and the United States of America signed the Mutual Security Assistance Pact and this laid a foundation for Japan having security relations with United States. This pact would later be replaced by the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security that was signed in the year 1960 which had the statute declaring that the two countries would ensure that the capacities of their militaries to counter-attacks and that the two countries recognize that an armed attack on either country or their territories would be deemed a security threat to both countries. The treaty also recognized the sovereignty of Japan and hence it declared that Japan would be consulted if the United States made changes to the deployment of its military in the country. The government of Japan would also need to be consulted if the United States military intended to use any of Japan’s bases for operations especially combats. However, a clause of the treaty stated that Japan had the right to deny these rights to the United States if Japan was defending itself. Although Japan had its external military operations prohibition lifted it continued to rely on the United States for military protection if it was attacked externally. In the year 1990, the Japanese government declared its intention of continuing to rely on the United States treaty agreement and it stated that this was in the interest of national security8.

Article 6 of the treaty of 1960 contains the Agreed Minutes that states that the United States had the right to station its troops in the country under the status-of-forces agreement. However, there were specifics to the areas that the military of the United States could be stationed and also the facilities. Of importance is that the administration of the Japanese employees in these areas and facilities could still be under the administration of the Japanese government. Another clause stated that the Japanese government would mete justice to all crimes that were committed in the vicinities of the areas and facilities9.

It is significant to note that the Mutual Security Assistance Pact of 1952 had the point of view of an aid project and this acted as a condition of gaining funds, services, and materials for Japan’s protection needs. By the 1960s, Japan by no means received any type of aid from the United States but the condition of the agreement continued under the program of transacting and licensing contract that promoted interoperability amid the two countries’ armaments and also for the discharging of data which was classified to Japan. This classified information included intelligence reports and information relating to technical classification10.

One outstanding issue in the military agreement between the two countries was resolved in the year 1972 when the Ryukyu Island and Okinawa were returned to be under the control of Japan and the agreement of the 1960 expansion to be inclusive of the Ryukyu Islands and Okinawa. However, the United States still retained the right to deploy its troops to these islands and by the year 1990, the United States military had over thirty thousand troops occupying a significant portion of the Okinawa land, and this precipitated aggression from the locals of this area.

The military associations between the two countries improved during the 1970s and this can be attributed to the fact that the 1960 Security Consultative Committee with both countries being represented was set up and it was given the task of coordinating the security issues between the two countries11.

The military associations between the two countries improved during the 1970s and this can be attributed to the fact that the 1960 Security Consultative Committee with both countries being represented was set up and it was given the task of coordinating the security issues between the two countries. This committee was very instrumental in laying down the basis of today’s military relations between the two countries and this can be evidenced by the fact that a subcommittee of the Security Consultative Committee made a Japan-United States Defence Cooperation proposal and it was approved by the Security Consultative Committee. The proposal approved unprecedented actions to facilitate joint planning of defense and this was to be done during a response to an armed attack on Japan and other situations in Asia and the Pacific Region that could be seen as a threat to the security of Japan12.

The guidelines of the proposal led the Joint Staff Council of Japan and the commander of the United States Forces located in Japan to come up with a program to facilitate joint exercises to fit in all the three services of the two countries.

It is to this effect that each year in the 1980s, the GSDF held a command post and also training callisthenics that implicated all the units from each of the regional armies and this was done together with the United States Military. It is to this effect that the militaries of both countries have held joint exercises and the most notable is the Navies of the two countries which have been exercising together in the rim of the Pacific and other countries are also involved like New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. However, the other services are also involved in joint exercises13.

The military presence of the United States in Japan can be portrayed by the fact that in the year 1992, more than 50,000 troops of the armed forces were stationed in Japan, while the marines were more than 21,000, the air force was more than 10,000, the navy was more than 5,000 and the army personnel were more than 2,000. The United States military is mainly located in Honshu, Okinawa, and Kyushu. It is important to note that these numbers were indications that the United Military presence in the country was declining14.

United States Military Presence in Korea

The United States and South Korean arrangement of defense are viewed as the paramount element of South Korea’s strategic position in Northeast Asia.

However, in recent years, South Korea has adopted a steadily growing anti-Americanism ideology and this has overwrought the relationship connecting the two countries which has a tradition of closeness. There has been a steady occupation by the United State military troops in the country and this has led to major disagreements between the two countries. However, the relationship between the two countries can also be said to be worsening because the two economies are changing, and also the economic relationship has for recent years been a strained one15.

It is important to note that the relationship between the two countries is not held together by security reasons alone but by democracy and the economic partnership between the two countries. There is a relationship between the three components and this can be portrayed by the fact that when South Korea is having a stable economy, the security of the region is secured and this ensures that the countries in the region have their economical development boosted by these aspects. Democracy plays a very important role in any country’s economy and security. This can be attributed as the leading factor why the United States has continued to have such a keen interest in the country from a historical perspective16.

As far as the military is concerned, the United States has viewed the country as being an influential part of the region. It is for this reason that the United States has some very imperative interests both strategic and political in the Korean Peninsula and this region is also very imperative for the interests of other key economies like the Soviet Union, China, and Japan. The four countries have converged their interests in the Korean Peninsula and hence the security of the region is deemed as being very critical for global security, stability, and peace17.

The Republic of Korea has been concerned about her neighbor, North Korea who is well equipped with weapons, and the two countries have a strained relationship dating back to the Korean War when the North invaded the South and the South had to be supported by the United States which was backed by the United Nations. North Korea seeks to unify the north and the south countries and North Korea wants the unification of the Korean Peninsula to be under its terms and disregards the terms of South Korea. By no means can the military supremacy of North Korea can be undermined especially about South Korea. The military of South Korea is by far outnumbered by that of North Korea although North Korea’s military was greatly disorganized because the country was involved in an armed conflict with the United Nations-backed United States. There have been efforts to modernize the military of South Korea to minimize the differences between North Korea and South Korea. This has been deemed to be very influential in promoting peace and stability in the region18.

This can be seen as the main reason why the United States has continued to deploy its troops in South Korea to ensure that the stability in the region continues. There have been various security agreements between the two countries and one of them is the Mutual Defense Treaty between the government of the United States and the government of the Republic of Korea. This has been very instrumental in deterring off North Korea aggression and while South Korea shields behind the defense of the United States Military it has been given a chance to prosper economically and also been involved in democratic modernization19.

the United States foreign policy in East Asia

The foreign policy of the United States can by no means be seen as being impartial and this can be expressed in terms of global alliances and also in some regions which includes East Asia. When it comes to East Asia, there has been favoritism on the part of the United States. It has been noted the country chooses its allies based on what the other country can offer. It is important to note that the interests of the country come first before everything else. This can be evidenced by the fact that the United States was willing to have an alliance with South Korea and disregard North Korea. It is also evidenced by the fact that the country would rather have an alliance with Japan instead of China when Japan was one of the worst enemies of the United States during the Second World War. This means that the United States chooses countries that are strategically positioned to further the country’s interests20.

Bibliographies

Hermann, Margaret G.; Charles W. Kegley, Jr. (1998). “The U.S. Use of Military Intervention to Promote Democracy: Evaluating the Record”. International Interactions 24 (2): 91–114.

Johnson, Japan: Who Governs?, W.W. Norton, 1996.

Lafeber, Walter (1993). Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America. W. W. Norton & Company.

Lowenthal, Abraham (1991). The United States and Latin American Democracy: Learning from History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. In Exporting Democracy, Themes and Issues, edited by Abraham Lowenthal p. 243-265.

Lowenthal, Abraham F. (March 1, 1991). Exporting Democracy : The United States and Latin America. The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Meernik, James (1996). “United States Military Intervention and the Promotion of Democracy”. Journal of Peace Research 33 (4): 391–402.

Muravchik, Joshua (1991). Exporting Democracy: Fulfilling America’s Destiny. Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute Press.

Penceny, Mark (1999). Democracy at the Point of Bayonets. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Samuels, Securing Japan: Tokyo’s Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia, Cornell University Press, 2008.

Smith, Tony; Richard C. Leone (1995). America’s Mission: The United States and the Worldwide Struggle for Democracy in the Twentieth Century. Princeton University Press.

Yang, Sung Chul (1999). The North and South Korean political systems: A comparative analysis (rev. ed.). Seoul: Hollym.

Yonhap News Agency (2004). Korea Annual 2004. Seoul: Author.

Footnotes

  1. Hermann, Margaret G.; Charles W. Kegley, Jr. (1998). “The U.S. Use of Military Intervention to Promote Democracy: Evaluating the Record”. International Interactions 24 (2): 91–114.
  2. Lafeber, Walter (1993). Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America. W. W. Norton & Company
  3. Hermann, Margaret G.; Charles W. Kegley, Jr. (1998). “The U.S. Use of Military Intervention to Promote Democracy: Evaluating the Record”. International Interactions 24 (2): 91–114.
  4. Lowenthal, Abraham (1991). The United States and Latin American Democracy: Learning from History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. In Exporting Democracy, Themes and Issues, edited by Abraham Lowenthal p. 243-265.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Hermann, Margaret G.; Charles W. Kegley, Jr. (1998). “The U.S. Use of Military Intervention to Promote Democracy: Evaluating the Record”. International Interactions 24 (2): 91–114.
  7. Muravchik, Joshua (1991). Exporting Democracy: Fulfilling America’s Destiny. Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute Press.
  8. Meernik, James (1996). “United States Military Intervention and the Promotion of Democracy”. Journal of Peace Research 33 (4): 391–402.
  9. Hermann, Margaret G.; Charles W. Kegley, Jr. (1998). “The U.S. Use of Military Intervention to Promote Democracy: Evaluating the Record”. International Interactions 24 (2): 91–114.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Hermann, Margaret G.; Charles W. Kegley, Jr. (1998). “The U.S. Use of Military Intervention to Promote Democracy: Evaluating the Record”. International Interactions 24 (2): 91–114.
  12. Johnson, Japan: Who Governs?, W.W. Norton, 1996.
  13. Smith, Tony; Richard C. Leone (1995). America’s Mission: The United States and the Worldwide Struggle for Democracy in the Twentieth Century. Princeton University Press.
  14. Yonhap News Agency (2004). Korea Annual 2004. Seoul: Author.
  15. Penceny, Mark (1999). Democracy at the Point of Bayonets. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.
  16. Yang, Sung Chul (1999). The North and South Korean political systems: A comparative analysis (rev. ed.). Seoul: Hollym.
  17. Samuels, Securing Japan: Tokyo’s Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia, Cornell University Press, 2008.
  18. Lowenthal, Abraham F. (1991). Exporting Democracy : The United States and Latin America. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  19. Hermann, Margaret G.; Charles W. Kegley, Jr. (1998). “The U.S. Use of Military Intervention to Promote Democracy: Evaluating the Record”. International Interactions 24 (2): 91–114.
  20. Hermann, Margaret G.; Charles W. Kegley, Jr. (1998). “The U.S. Use of Military Intervention to Promote Democracy: Evaluating the Record”. International Interactions 24 (2): 91–114.

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