The U.S.-Japan-ROK Strategic Triangle and Maritime Security

Building Capacity in Northeast Asia and in the Broader Indo-Pacific Region

A Trilateral Dialogue Workshop

June 12, 2015

Washington, D.C.


Welcome and Opening Remarks

Dr. Charles Perry, Vice President & Director of Studies, IFPA

Session 1: Overview of Trilateral Relations: U.S., Japanese, and South Korean Perspectives

How do representatives from each country view the current state of trilateral security cooperation? What are the main obstacles, including historical and territorial tensions, that impede more robust trilateral cooperation in regional and extra-regional security affairs? What is the overall climate at this particular point in time? What are reasonable expectations of cooperation in the near term? How do these define the parameters and scope of potential trilateral maritime cooperation, both in the region and beyond?

Moderator:Dr. Charles Perry, IFPA

Opening comments by:

  • U.S.: James Schoff, Senior Associate-Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Japan: Dr. Junya Nishino, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Keio University
  • ROK: Dr. Kang Choi, Vice President, Asan Institute for Policy Studies

Session 2: Crisis Management in the Northeast Asian Maritime Zone

How do all three countries react, individually, trilaterally, and bilaterally in the context of the U.S.-Japan and U.S.-ROK alliances, to plausible crisis scenarios in the region? For instance, how would the three countries respond to a North Korean ballistic missile launch that triggers joint naval missile defenses, or to a flood of refugees at sea in the event of regime instability or even collapse in the North requiring trilateral naval coordination for non-combatant evacuation operations (NEOs)?

Moderator:James Schoff, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Opening comments by:

  • U.S.: Dr. Kongdan “Katy” Oh, Research Staff Member, Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA)
  • Japan: Dr. Tetsuo Kotani, Senior Fellow, Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • ROK: Dr. Beom-cheol Shin, Director General for Policy Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)

Session 3: Responding to Chinese Military Power and Maritime Pressure

How are all three nations posturing to respond to China’s military rise, with special reference to its growing naval/maritime assets and power projection capabilities? Each nation has somewhat unique perspectives on this problem and its implications for regional security. To what extent are their views convergent (or not), and how might that influence/shape a joint or coordinated response at various levels? While the ROK sounds alarm bells about Japan’s lurch to the right, for instance, the real deep concern in Seoul is Chinese military strength and especially China’s naval power in and around the Korean Peninsula (especially in the Yellow Sea area). For Japan, China is already the main security challenge, particularly in the maritime arena, and this is largely true for the United States as well. How are current and future force capabilities and respective maritime strategies addressing security concerns about China? This session should uncover new insights about how each of these countries is actually digesting the China challenge and factoring it into viable military modernization programs and concepts and into plans for enhanced capabilities.

Moderator:VADM Yoji Koda, JMSDF (Ret.), former Commander-in-Chief of the Self Defense Fleet

Opening comments by:

  • U.S.: Dr. James Holmes, Professor of Strategy and Policy, U.S. Naval War College
  • Japan: CAPT Bonji Ohara, JMSDF (Ret.), Research Fellow & Project Manager, Tokyo Foundation
  • ROK: Dr. Chung Min Lee, Ambassador for National Security Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Lunch and Keynote Address

Speaker: AMB David Shear, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs

Moderator: Dr. Charles Perry, IFPA

Session 4: Out-of-Area Missions, Capabilities, and Capacity-Building

What are the range of mid- to long-term strategic adjustments that have to be made as Japan and the ROK, in coordination with the United States, become increasingly involved in broader out-of-area maritime security missions, given that both are critically dependent on open sea lanes from the Middle East through Southeast Asia and into the Western Pacific and, by extension, on stable security conditions in the coastal and archipelagic areas through and around which these sea lanes flow? How are the ROK and Japanese navies thinking about these out-of-area missions, including maritime domain awareness, anti-piracy, counter-terrorism, HA/DR, and PSI at sea, as well as sea control and sea-lane defense? Are they giving these missions the priority they deserve? Can either fill ongoing capability gaps for the other? To what extent are the broader regional security cooperation, capacity-building, and maritime partnership initiatives that all three countries are pursuing with regard to specific countries and coastal zones outside of Northeast Asia (particularly in South and Southeast Asia) designed to help address out-of-area maritime risks? To what degree are these new maritime partnerships being coordinated with each other? Are they developing in ways that maximize resources and capabilities or are they duplicating efforts in any way?

Moderator:Dr. Jacquelyn K. Davis, Executive Vice-President, IFPA

Opening comments by:

  • U.S.: Dr. Van Jackson, Visiting Fellow, Center for a New American Security (CNAS)
    Peter Hemsch, Deputy Director, Office of Japanese Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Japan: Dr. Ken Jimbo, Associate Professor, Faculty of Policy Management & Center for Asia-Pacific Studies, Keio University
  • ROK: Dr. Jina Kim, Associate Research Fellow, Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA)

Session 5: Steps Ahead: Toward a Stronger Strategic Triangle and Greater Maritime Cooperation

Given the day’s discussions, what seems like a reasonable set of next steps in broadening and deepening trilateral cooperation in maritime security and other relevant areas of strategic cooperation? What are concrete measures that the three nations can take to implement these objectives over the near to mid term? What lessons learned can we draw from the previous three angles of inquiry in helping to synthesize our efforts in the future? Finally, what suggestions do you have for the second workshop to be held next year?

Moderator: Dr. Chung Min Lee, MOFA

Opening comments by:

  • Brad Glosserman, Executive Director, Pacific Forum CSIS
  • Dr. Patrick Cronin, Senior Director, Asia-Pacific Security Program, CNAS