President Moon Jae-in announced at a joint press conference held after the summit with U.S. President Joe Biden on May 21 that they had agreed to lift the missile guidelines. The termination of the missile guidelines means that the maximum range restrictions will be lifted, which will secure South Korea’s missile sovereignty for the first time in 42 years.
The first thing the U.S., World War II victor, did when it occupied Japan was disarm Japanese troops and destroy the country’s economic bases, such as industrial facilities, so that they would never pose a threat to the U.S. again. In fact, in 1946, Japan’s economy fell to less than 20% of what it had been 10 years before.
This American policy toward Japan suddenly changed in 1948. “With the rise of the Soviet Union and the Cold War in full swing, seeing that a war could break out in East Asia, the U.S. deemed Japan an unsinkable aircraft carrier that could serve as a bulwark against socialism.” It was also at this time that imprisoned war criminals such as Nobusuke Kishi (the maternal grandfather of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo) were released.
On July 8, 1950, shortly after the outbreak of the Korean War, Supreme Commander of the Japanese Occupation Douglas MacArthur ordered the Japanese government to add 75,000 National Police Reserves and 8,000 Coast Guard personnel. This National Police Reserve later became the Self-Defense Forces. The U.S. also procured wartime supplies from Japan. According to Japanese data, nearly 40% of the country’s total foreign currency imports were related to the Korean War in 1953. Thanks to the Korean War, Japan regained its army and rebuilt its economy.
The United States, which runs the world, is good at maximizing its national interest by using other countries as pawns. It did not help Japan make a comeback because it deemed it a beautiful country, but rather used it to stand against the Soviet Union. It has been recently decided that Japan will increase its defense budget and stop limiting defense spending to around 1% of the gross domestic product.
The possibility that the United States’ acceptance and guidance were reflected here cannot be ruled out. Just as when the Soviet Union rose 70 years ago, this time the American-favored tactic of using one country to subdue another, known as 以夷制夷 in Chinese, puts Japan at the fore of preventing China’s expansion.
Moon met with Biden to put an end to the Korea-U.S. missile guidelines. Now that the 42-year-old limit on missile range has been removed, it is time to perfect our national defense.
I commend the hard work of soldiers and diplomats who fought fiercely behind the scenes with a historic sense of duty and achieved tremendous results. However, it is also necessary to think sensibly about why the United States presently agreed. It is important to see through the U.S.’s strategy and turn it against itself for our own national interests and to improve our genuine capabilities.