Asia on Fire: Parallel Military Exercises in Japan and South Korea

09.11.2016

In the Pacific region, several military exercises are being held with the United States simultaneously: the first US-South Korean-British exercises are taking place at Osan Air Force Base near Seoul, and US-Japan exercises are being held in the Pacific Ocean near the island of Okinawa.

South Korea

These exercises are the first in which the United Kingdom is participating. In addition, this is the largest deployment of British forces on the peninsula since the Korean War of 1950-1953.

A noteworthy fact is that the US-South Korean exercises are ceaseless: by the time one ends, another has already started. However, many exercises are held against the backdrop of the many blunders of the South Korean armed forces, such as the stopping of radars. This could be considered sabotage because even dissatisfaction with subordination to US generals has long been growing among command staff.

The political crisis in the country influences the mood in the South Korean army and its actions, and is contributing to the deterioration of relations with its neighbors such as China and even Tokyo, which has traditionally been an ally of Seoul.

Japan

Meanwhile, the first exercises in the framework of the renewed agreement on military cooperation are opening in Japan. Citizens and employees of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces have been actively protesting the agreement which provides for "collective self-defense”, i.e., actually allowing the troops of a foreign state (apparently, the USA) to stay in the country without the consent of the government or locals.

The opposition considers this document a violation of the constitution and de-sovereigntization of the country, but the ruling party’s supporters think that only joint rescue operations are going to be held during the exercises.

For the most part, the drills bear the character of a rescue operation.