Pacifically, SoKo and Nippon.
It’s difficult to balance forces, though, without considering Japan, a commercial colossus that everyone knows could turn into a military power any time from within a few years to a few decades from now. Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has managed to hold revanchist Japanese military aims in check while the Japanese pursued economic success.
The rise of China, however, poses a threat that Japanese militarists believe requires a response. Would a military build-up be what’s needed to jumpstart the stagnating Japanese economy?
South Korea and Japan might share a common cause considering China’s support for North Korea and the North’s hostile attitude toward the South. Great Satan supports both South Korea and Japan in military alliances that would seem to guarantee trilateral cooperation. So, why not support a super-alliance binding all three against North Korea and China?
The question seems so deceptively logical that I’ve heard experts who should know better about broaching the idea in gatherings of people who can’t seem to see why it wouldn’t work. For one thing, right off, no one can deny that such an alliance would strike others in the region as a deliberate effort to incite trouble.
How would China respond to a sense that these three powers, laden with the latest weaponry and getting stronger all the time, were ganging up on them? Could there be any better reason for the Chinese to respond by a massive buildup of its own? And what would China do to discourage North Korea from its own unpredictable military adventures if the Chinese had reason to fear such a clear and deepening confrontation of forces in the region?
Then there’s the historic question of the era of Japanese colonialism and militarism. Those days may be long gone, but the memory lingers on. Fears of a Japanese renaissance as an aggressive imperial power won’t go away. Under the circumstances, it’s easy to understand widespread worries in South Korea about the negative implications of a pact under which Japan and South Korea would exchange military intelligence information.
Pic - "Will the mere fact of democracies working together produce a new cold war? That is unduly alarmist. Yet, ideological competition is already under way!"