Can Donald Trump save South Korea-Japan relations?

4 / 2019
Tongfi Kim

President Trump is reportedly planning to demand payment from host countries of U.S. troops covering the entire cost of stationing plus 50 percent. Seoul and Tokyo should treat this so-called “Cost Plus 50” as a wake-up call to deal collaboratively with the threats their U.S. alliances are facing. South Korea and Japan need to coordinate their Special Measures Agreement negotiation strategies, not just to save money, but to preserve the long-term viability of U.S. alliances in East Asia. Above all, they must avoid buying U.S. favor at the expense of each other and appeasing U.S. adversaries such as China and Russia.