Country Reports

In the summer of 2020 foreign policy was largely on hold. The pandemic effect, the wait for US elections, and the relative caution shown by North Korea unwilling to alienate Donald Trump even if it could lash out at Moon Jae-in’s inaction, all left policy choices in limbo. Ties to Japan remained deeply troubled, although Abe Shinzo’s announcement at the end of August that he would step down could begin to reawaken discussion. Meanwhile, the divergence in regional strategy as well as policy toward North Korea cast a shadow over ROK-US relations, compounding the unresolved negotiations over host-nation support. This was not a time for complacency given expectations that challenges will worsen due to deeper Sino-US, North Korean-US, and ROK-Japanese tensions, and, not least, ROK-US differences soon in the open.   

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