November 09, 2020 12:11
A U.S. congressional report warns that outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump's anti-China initiative, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or "Quad," risks alienating traditional allies like Korea.
In the report titled "The 'Quad': Security Cooperation Among the United States, Japan, India, and Australia" on Nov. 2, the U.S. Congressional Research Service warns it could exclude "other regional countries" and marginalize "traditional bilateral alliances" like Korea.
"U.S. treaty ally [Korea] is not in the Quad despite fitting the description of being a democracy with maritime interests and growing naval capabilities," the report says. "South Korea is likely reluctant to be included in a group that antagonizes China, but it may also chafe at exclusion."
The report is well aware that Japan may welcome the chance to exclude Korea, saying, "Leaders in Tokyo may find the absence of [Korea] an additional advantage of the quadrilateral grouping," it says.
"Tokyo and Seoul have often been at odds and resistant to U.S. encouragement of closer trilateral cooperation among the United States, Japan, and [Korea]," it adds. "The Quad provides another venue for Japan's Self Defense Forces to increase security exercises with the U.S. military."
While trying to build a united front against China, Washington is also reportedly considering launching a "Quad Plus" by adding Korea, Vietnam, and New Zealand.
But the government has politely rebuffed advances from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, apparently in the hope of sitting out Trump. It remains to be seen whether incoming President Joe Biden will persist with the initiative.
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