In war, Japan will be our ally

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In war, Japan will be our ally

Lee Ha-kyung
The author is the chief editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union had a 13-day standoff seemingly on the brink of nuclear war. Eyeball-to-eyeball with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, U.S. President John F. Kennedy said the possibility of a nuclear war was between one-in-three or one-in-two. Co-authors Graham Allison and Philip Zelikow wrote in their book, “Essence of Decision,” that millions of the people in Europe, in addition to over 100 million Americans and 100 million Soviets would have died if there was a nuclear war.
Sixty years later, two leaders are threatening to push nuclear buttons. They are Vladimir Putin of Russia and Kim Jong-un of North Korea. The North even legalized its right to launch a preemptive nuclear strike. Kim also completed an emergency plan that nuclear weapons would be launched automatically and immediately after his unforeseen death. It means that he has no intention to succumb to the “decapitating strike” strategy.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches a recent missile test at an undisclosed location and date in this photograph released by Pyongyang’s state-controlled Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). [YONHAP]

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches a recent missile test at an undisclosed location and date in this photograph released by Pyongyang’s state-controlled Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). [YONHAP]

A Bloomberg report said some in the Biden administration are arguing that engineers should be evacuated and infrastructure be destroyed to prevent China’s invasion of Taiwan and control of TSMC. If the United States and China clash in Taiwan after the launch of Xi Jinping’s one-man rule, the United States will likely mobilize its troops in Korea and Japan. There is a possibility that Korea will be embroiled in the U.S.-China war. The absence of the U.S. Forces Korea is what North Korea wants for its provocation.
Russia, China and North Korea are nucleararmed states. “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” U.S. President Joe Biden recently said. South Korea, confronting the North, is the first to face this potential disaster.
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union confronted each other when they were 5,500 kilometers apart. The Korea-U.S. alliance, however, is much closer to Kim’s weapons. The United States has long maintained ambassador-level diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and Russia as well as hotlines. With desperate communication, it was able to stop a disaster by activating a balance of terror. But the South and the United States do not have diplomatic relations with the North nor hotlines. If the North, a reclusive country that lacks outside information and communication abilities, makes a wrong judgment, the Korean Peninsula will become a living hell.
It is urgent that politicians make bipartisan efforts to maintain a meticulous, robust security posture and establish communication channels to prevent a misjudgment. But Democratic Party (DP) Chairman Lee Jae-myung recently criticized the Yoon Suk-yeol administration’s decision to participate in a South Korea-U.S.-Japan military exercise to counter a possible North Korean nuclear attack, calling it an “extreme proJapan act and pro-Japan defense policy.” While keeping silence toward the North’s Kim, who threatens the South, Lee tried to fuel anti-Japan sentiments in the South.
DP Rep. Kim Byung-joo also supported Lee by saying, “It is possible that the Japanese SelfDefense Forces may be stationed in Korea, like the U.S. troops.”
The trilateral military exercise was agreed to by defense ministers from Seoul, Washington and Tokyo in 2017 during the Moon Jae-in administration. When Rep. Kim was the deputy commander of the Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command, such joint military exercises took place six times.
Immanuel Kant said in “Perpetual Peace” that a republic favors peace because the people are against a war. Liberal international political theory says democratic countries do not engage in wars against one another. When threats from the North, China and Russia grow, cooperating with Japan is a key to survival for the South.
The late President Kim Dae-jung supported normalization of relations with Japan in 1965. He was a giant politician who had chosen national interests over his party’s stance. After he was elected president, he also forged a joint declaration with Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi to upgrade the two countries’ relations.
DP Chairman Lee’s anti-Japan sentiment is anachronistic. It is a clear contrast to President Yoon’s mature attitude.
Without Japan’s help, the South and the United States cannot counter the North’s provocations. During the Korean War, 1 million soldiers were dispatched from U.S. bases in Japan to the Korean Peninsula and 700,000 tons of bombs were dropped. For the Incheon Landing Operation, 10,000 soldiers were mobilized. “Without Japan, the United States would not have been able to wage war in Korea,” said Robert Murphy, the first postwar American ambassador to Japan.
Why is DP Chairman Lee trying to instigate anti-Japan sentiments that are against Korea’s national interest? Probably to weaken the prosecution’s investigation of him.
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