“The enemy of thy enemy is thy friend” is a statement that has been used time and again for millennia, with a large debate on who and when it was said. No matter the particulars, the statement rings just as true now as it ever did. With North Korea continuing to not only rattle their saber as they have done for years now but now trying to flex their muscle, tensions are getting closer and closer to their peak.
On June 29th, it was this exact provocation that led to U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol coming together off to the side at a NATO summit in Madrid. There they reached an agreement that North Korea and their progress on their missile programs were now posing a serious threat to not just the Korean peninsula, but the world as a whole.
Given the rapid rise in missile testing by North Korea and the claims that yet another nuclear test is to be conducted sometime in the very near future, there is ample cause for concern. Coming together, the three leaders agreed that the ability of the US military with its nuclear forces is a great thing to deter attacks against its allies and that they could provide greater security cooperation.
Prime Minister Kishida went on to say, “The deterrence capabilities of the Japan-U.S. and U.S.-Republic Of Korea (ROK) alliances need to be upgraded as part of the essential effort to strengthen the trilateral partnership between Japan, the U.S., and ROK.”
South Korea Open to Alliances With U.S., Japan, and ROK
Thankfully, Yoon has openly expressed his desire to restore relations, and Kishida has appeared to respond incredibly favorably. This combined with a push by the US to put more pressure on North Korea through sanctions will only help to strengthen the region. Should these sanctions actually get North Korean President Kim Jong-un back to the table, it could help bring about peace to the region.
It is unlikely that strengthening the relations among these three countries will get North Korea to the table to discuss abandoning the nuclear program, or his removal as a dictator, but it at least has the potential to limit how much further he will go. His progression in his quest to build bigger and better weapons systems while his country starves is nothing but shameful. Their funding for these kinds of tests is coming in a variety of ways, none of them legal either.
Given how shut off North Korea has become, South Korea and Japan have an opportunity to come together and be a true show of force against the weapons testing. Their strength in working together against a common enemy is something the world has seen time and again in various situations. It works incredibly well and has been known to stave off other enemies from finding weakness where there is none.