Trump administration patching holes in "eastern NATO" / News / News agency Inforos
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Trump administration patching holes in "eastern NATO"

Trump himself to a large extent promoted dissonance in military ties between Washington, Seoul and Tokyo

Trump administration patching holes in "eastern NATO"

A successful American businessman who suddenly became the White House head has decisively intruded global politics and economics and started dictating his own rules and conditions to the whole world disregarding established traditions.

For example, he since the very first days of his rule insistently started to speak about the need to reduce expenditures of the USA on its armed forces in foreign countries and the need for heftier contribution of allies in the common security expenditures.

Seoul and Tokyo at first believed that this new Trump's initiative would go past them (since they are Washington's key allies in the region), then they counted for at least indulgent Washington's attitude as far as the construction of new patterns of economic and military cooperation were concerned. But when the American president bluntly offered Seoul to pay about $1 billion for deploying THAAD in South Korea in April 2017, it became clear that there would be no discounts for either South Korea or Japan.

Naturally, political circles of Washington's allies in the Far East started to grow dissatisfied and even indignant. They even started to speak about the feasibility of providing land plots for American military bases. But one should give respect to Trump – he calmly and coldly reacted to these splashes. He made some insignificant concessions in the economic sphere, but yielded no inch of his position in the military sphere.

At the same time, opening the high-level week of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday he didn't even blink when said (as reported by the Tass news agency) that policies aimed at protecting the sovereignty and independence of countries of the world, rather than ideas of globalism would shape the future.

And that worked out! Meeting with Trump in New York, President of South Korea Moon Jae-in stated the readiness to discuss expenditures on the American military contingent in the country. However, Moon made a reservation, saying that expenditures should be shared fairly. Time will show, what fairness means in America and South Korea!

Meanwhile, South Korea publicized plans for a series of American-South Korean consultations at various level in the near future on the whole range of military problems that had stockpiled in recent years in the sphere of mutual security of the USA, South Korea and Japan.

One of them is the proliferation of the conflict between Japan and South Korea from the economic to the security sphere. The thing is that the signing of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between Seoul and Tokyo in November 2016 was considered as a big achievement of America's mediation policy.

In December 2016, South Korea and Japan exchanged information on North Korea's missile and nuclear programs for the first time. According to the agreement, South Korea undertook an obligation to give to Japan in particular radar data of South Korean reconnaissance aviation, as well as information obtained from defectors from the North of the Korean Peninsula, while Japan was to give to South Korea information about North Korean submarines gathered by Japanese aircraft, as well as satellite information regarding North Korea's preparations for new missile launches.

Following Tokyo's hostile steps in economic relations with Seoul, the South Korean administration made a decision to terminate cooperation with Japan under the GSOMIA. This decision questions the fulfillment of the American idea of prompt, uninterrupted and direct exchange of intelligence information between Tokyo and Seoul without the involvement of American intelligence officers.

This decision naturally undermines one of the core principles of intelligence, which is promptness. That is why it is expected that the upcoming American-South Korean consultations will primarily center on this issue among others. Sources of several South Korean media said that Seoul was ready to consider its return to the agreement provided that the Japanese side canceled the earlier made decisions against South Korea in the economic sphere.

Moreover, military consultations between the USA and South Korea scheduled for September 26-27, and then later this year, will focus on the following issues: strengthening the role of the UN Command on the Korean Peninsula, details pertaining to giving to Seoul operative control over its troops in wartime, as well as the deployment of US military bases, which is likely to happen on the South Korean territory.

As far as the role of UN Command is concerned, it should be noted that first of all it is expected to solve the issue of expanding its staff through engaging representatives of various countries, including Japan. Seoul is strongly against this move, officially saying that Japan wasn't either direct or indirect participant in the Korean War. It is expected that the USA will put pressure on Seoul to solve this issue. But so far there are no signs that the South Korean side may change its position.

The American side also insists that after Seoul gets the right of operative control over its troops in wartime, the UN Command should keep the right of issuing instructions to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Such US plans prove that Washington has continued the policy of exerting pressure on its allies, even in the military sphere. The Trump administration shows that it is patching holes in the collective security system in the Far East, which in fact were made by the US president himself, as Tokyo took the example of Washington and followed it in showing rigidity of its policies, in particular in relations with South Korea.

It seems that the new policy of the American president is not only about making additional profit in relations with allies but also about showing ability to solve problems that were artificially created.

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