Japan and Korea in China-US Relations: A Reappraisal of the Post-War Order

This roundtable session is supported by the Korea Foundation.

About The Korea Foundation (KF)

The Korea Foundation (KF) was established in 1991 to promote the charms of Korea to the world in order to deepen mutually friendly international civil networks. Since its founding, the KF has worked on various foreign exchange programs including the promotion of Korean studies, networking to foster international cooperation, arts and cultural exchanges, and media projects.


This roundtable examines Japan-Korea relations by focusing on the bilateral relationship's rapidly changing international context. Rather than focusing on the dominant issues particular to Japan–Korea relations, this project looks at the two powerful drivers of East Asian international politics of late, namely China and the US, that inform and influence Japan and Korea’s domestic politics and international behaviour. As such, the interest of this project is to give greater attention to the interaction between Japan’s and Korea’s relations with both China and the US in order to shed light to the spillover effect of China-US relations on Japan-Korea relations. It aims to be both an exercise in reappraising America’s hub-and-spokes system in the context of changing power dynamics from the China challenge, and an attempt to assess the historical significance of Japan–Korea relations in the transformative phase of modern East Asian politics.


Haruko Satoh, Osaka University, Japan (chair)
Brendan Howe, Ewha Women's University, South Korea (discussant)
Jaewoo Choo, Kyunghee University, South Korea (discussant)
June Park, National Research Foundation of Korea, South Korea (discussant)
Kei Koga, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (discussant)
Xiangfeng Yang, Yonsei University, South Korea (discussant)
Mingjiang Li, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (discussant)

Haruko Satoh

Osaka University, Japan

Haruko Satoh is Specially Appointed Professor at the Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), where she teaches Japan’s relations with Asia and identity in international relations. She is also co-director of the OSIPP-IAFOR Research Centre and she was previously part of the MEXT Reinventing Japan project on “Peace and Human Security in Asia (PAHSA)” with six Southeast Asian and four Japanese universities.

In the past she has worked at the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), Chatham House, and Gaiko Forum. Her interests are primarily in state theory, Japanese nationalism and identity politics. Recent publications include: “China in Japan’s Nation-state Identity” in James DJ Brown & Jeff Kingston (eds) Japan’s Foreign Relations in Asia (Routledge, 2018); “Japan’s ‘Postmodern’ Possibility with China: A View from Kansai” in Lam Peng Er (ed), China-Japan Relations in the 21st Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017); “Rethinking Security in Japan: In Search of a Post-‘Postwar’ Narrative” in Jain & Lam (Eds.), Japan’s Strategic Challenges in a Changing Regional Environment (World Scientific, 2012); “Through the Looking-glass: China’s Rise as Seen from Japan”, (co-authored with Toshiya Hoshino), Journal of Asian Public Policy, 5(2), 181–198, (July 2012); “Post- 3.11 Japan: A Matter of Restoring Trust?”, ISPI Analysis No. 83 (December 2011); “Legitimacy Deficit in Japan: The Road to True Popular Sovereignty” in Kane, Loy & Patapan (Eds.), Political Legitimacy in Asia: New Leadership Challenges (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), “Japan: Re-engaging with China Meaningfully” in Tang, Li & Acharya (eds), Living with China: Regional States and China through Crises and Turning Points, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

Professor Satoh is a member of IAFOR’s Academic Governing Board. She is Chair of the Politics, Law & International Relations section of the International Academic Advisory Board.

Brendan Howe

Ewha Womans University, South Korea

Brendan Howe is Professor of International Relations and former Associate Dean and Department Chair of the Graduate School of International Studies, Ewha Womans University. South Korea. He is also currently the President of the Asian Political and International Studies Association, and an Honorary Ambassador of Public Diplomacy and advisor for the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has held visiting professorships and research fellowships at the Freie Universität Berlin, De La Salle University (Philippines), the University of Sydney, Korea National Defence University, the East-West Center (Honolulu), Georgetown University, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, and Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Educated at the University of Oxford, the University of Kent at Canterbury, Trinity College Dublin, and Georgetown University, his ongoing research agendas focus on traditional and non-traditional security in East Asia, human security, middle powers, public diplomacy, post-crisis development, comprehensive peacebuilding and conflict transformation. He has authored, co-authored, or edited more than 90 related publications including UN Governance: Peace and Human Security in Cambodia and Timor-Leste (Springer, 2020), Regional Cooperation for Peace and Development (Routledge, 2018), National Security, State Centricity, and Governance in East Asia (Springer, 2017), Peacekeeping and the Asia-Pacific (Brill, 2016), Democratic Governance in East Asia (Springer, 2015), Post-Conflict Development in East Asia (Ashgate, 2014), and The Protection and Promotion of Human Security in East Asia (Palgrave, 2013).

Jaewoo Choo

Kyung Hee University, South Korea

Jaewoo Choo is Professor of Chinese foreign policy in the Department of Chinese Studies at Kyung Hee University, and Vice President of One Belt One Road Institute in Korea. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University (BA in Government) and Peking University (MA & PhD in International Relations). His research interests are Chinese foreign policy, multilateral security cooperation, US-China relations, and China-North Korea relations. Recent publications include US-China relations for Koreans: From Korean War to THAAD Conflicts (Seoul: Kyung-In Publishing House, 2017), US and China’s Strategy on the Korean Peninsula: Reading from the Facts (Seoul: Paper & Tree, 2018).

June Park

National Research Foundation of Korea, South Korea

June Park is a political economist specialising in US foreign economic policymaking on the export-oriented countries of Northeast Asia – China, Japan and South Korea. She works on trade, energy, and tech conflicts with a broader range of regional focuses not just on the United States and East Asia, but also Europe and the Middle East. She also conducts policy-oriented research on the two Koreas. Her grand theme of research is why countries fight and how, using what. She studies why countries have different policy outcomes by analysing governance structures – domestic institutions, leadership, and bureaucracies that shape the policy formation process. She is currently a Next Generation Researcher of the National Research Foundation of Korea and an Academic Book Publication Member at the National Library of Korea, now finalising her first book manuscript, Trade Wars & Currency Conflict: China, South Korea, and Japan’s Responses to U.S. Pressures.

Her second book project, Europe's Challenges & Responses: Between Faustian Bargains with China and U.S. Pressures since Brexit, also utilises the framework of institutional variance but moves the stage to Europe and broadens the scope to pressures from two great powers: China and the United States. She examines each of the policy responses from Germany, France and the UK post-Brexit to China and the United States in the trade, energy and tech policy realms in the era of geoeconomic conflict between the United States and China.

In response to the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, she launched a standalone project entitled, “Governing a Pandemic: Beyond Massive Tracking and Data Privacy in South Korea to Counter COVID-19”. The project centres on the questions of a social contract on conditional AI-oriented surveillance, patents on health-related technology, and bureaucratic governance in governing a pandemic focusing on the South Korean case.

Kei Koga

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Kei Koga is Assistant Professor at the Public Policy and Global Affairs Programme, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University (NTU). His research focuses on IR theory, International Security, International Institutions, and East Asian security, including transformation of US-bilateral security networks and ASEAN-led institutions in the Indo-Pacific region. Previously, he was visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in 2017; a Japan-US Partnership Fellow at the Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS), Tokyo, in 2012-2014; Postdoctoral Fellow in the International Studies Program, The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, in 2012-2013; a Vasey Fellow at the Pacific Forum CSIS in 2009-2010; and RSIS-MacArthur visiting associate fellow at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), NTU in 2010.

He has published on topics that include East Asian security, US and Japanese foreign policies, the US-Japan alliance, and ASEAN. His recent publications include Reinventing Regional Security Institutions in Asia and Africa (Routledge 2017); Japan's ‘Indo-Pacific’ question: countering China or shaping a new regional order? (International Affairs, 2020); The Concept of “Hedging” Revisited: The Case of Japan's Foreign Policy Strategy in East Asia's Power Shift (International Studies Review, 2018); and ASEAN’s Evolving Institutional Strategy: Managing Great Power Politics in South China Sea Disputes (Chinese Journal of International Politics, 2018). His current book project is Managing Great Power Politics: ASEAN, Institutional Strategy, and South China Sea. He received his PhD in International Relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

Xiangfeng Yang

Yonsei University, South Korea

Xiangfeng Yang is an associate professor at Yonsei University in South Korea. A Chinese national, he received his PhD in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Southern California (USC). His research has appeared in, among others, International Affairs (2018, 2020), Journal of Contemporary China, Current History, Issues & Studies, Pacific Focus, and Chinese Journal of International Politics.

Mingjiang Li

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Dr Li Mingjiang is an Associate Professor at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is also the Coordinator of the China Program at RSIS. He received his PhD in Political Science from Boston University. His main research interests include China-ASEAN relations, Sino-US relations, Asia-Pacific security, and domestic sources of Chinese foreign policy. He is the author (including editor and co-editor) of 14 books. His recent books are New Dynamics in US-China Relations: Contending for the Asia Pacific (lead editor, Routledge, 2014) and Mao’s China and the Sino-Soviet Split (Routledge, 2012). He has published papers in various peer-reviewed publications including International Affairs, Asian Politics & Policy, Asian Perspectives, the Oxford Bibliographies, Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, Journal of Strategic Studies, Global Governance, Cold War History, Journal of Contemporary China, the Chinese Journal of International Politics, the Chinese Journal of Political Science, China: An International Journal, China Security, Harvard Asia Quarterly, Security Challenges, and others.

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