The stakes are high for an alliance in Asia among a trio that needs to pull together, according to two Asia watchers.
Should these tensions continue, and deepen, they could undermine President Obama’s “pivot” to Asia. Without defense cooperation between South Korea and Japan, the United States cannot respond effectively to North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations.
While the trilateral alliance does not seek to contain China, the absence of cooperation among the three like-minded allies on everything from cybersecurity to missile defense inhibits America’s capacity to shape China’s rise in constructive ways.
And the United States cannot work as effectively on a host of global issues, including climate change, international development, nuclear security and free trade without the cooperation of these two major economies.