U.S. Concerned About Seoul-Tokyo Conflict

      November 25, 2013 11:10

      Senior U.S. officials worry about icy relations between Seoul and Tokyo over the Japan's attempts at military expansion. The Financial Times on Friday quoted a White House official as saying them said, "We want to create the conditions where both sides can find a solution to this."

      But the official admitted it is not easy to "mediate between them."

      "This has now emerged as the biggest strategic challenge to American interests in Asia," the daily quoted ex-State Department official Kurt Campbell as saying.

      Joseph Nye, an ex-Pentagon official, said, "Two allies not co-operating increase our military risk."

      Washington supports Japan’s efforts to assert its right to so-called collective self-defense, where its troops can operate abroad if an ally is in some way under attack. A U.S. Defense Department official last Thursday said it is important for Washington and Tokyo to "coordinate closely with South Korea to promote common security interests."

      He attempted to allay Seoul's worries that Japanese troops could under certain circumstances once again set foot on Korean soil.

      The Pentagon in a press release said recent news reports that the U.S. decided to include the Korean Peninsula in the scope of Japan's collective self-defense "mischaracterized U.S. policy with respect to Northeast Asia."

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