Fletcher in the News

Obama Set for Trilateral Talks with Japan, S. Korea: Prof. Lee Weighs In

Sung-Yoon Lee is the Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor in Korean Studies and Assistant Professor at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

The leaders of Japan and South Korea are set for a trilateral meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of an international nuclear conference in The Hague. The discussion is expected to focus on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

The meeting is noteworthy because relations between the two U.S. allies have been strained in recent years and this will be the first formal meeting between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The U.S. has been urging Tokyo and Seoul to lower tensions over historical disputes and focus on issues of common interest, such as North Korea's nuclear program.

Sung-Yoon Lee, Korean Studies Professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, said the U.S. is used to its role as peace broker between Seoul and Tokyo.

"Well, the United States has found itself once again in the role of trying to be an intermediary between its two allies in Northeast Asia. And this is not a new role for the United States, even though it is frustrating for the U.S. This kind of role playing by the U.S., it goes back to the Korean War, the exigencies of the war in 1950, created the need for the United States to bring Japan and South Korea together," said Sung-Yoon.

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