In every crisis, there is opportunity. Today, this holds true for South Korea-Japan relations. Coronavirus can either aggravate or help mend relations between the two countries. Trust building exercises will be essential to set the process in motion—information exchange on coronavirus for starters, and perhaps communication on the U.S. cost-sharing negotiations in the near future.
To get this right, both countries will need to ensure no mixed messages are sent. Communication will be crucial to guarantee there is no misinterpretation of intentions. The hope is that both countries can see the merit in improving relations and stepping up for the security of the region.
Rintaro Nishimura is a Korean Studies Spring 2020 Research Assistant at the Center for the National Interest.