The dynamics of triangular intra-alliance politics : political interventions of the United States and Japan towards South Korea in regime transition 1979-1980
The focus of this study is the political dynamics of the alliance relations between the United States, Japan and South Korea during the Cold War period. It proposes the concept of "triangular alliance security system" (TASS) as a new theoretical framework for the understanding of intra-alliance politics in Northeast Asia. It identifies the different perspectives on regional relations of the US, Japan and South Korea and it argues that the main operational principle of the US in its dealings with Korea at that time was active intervention to democratise the latter's polity, whilst the Japanese imperative was defensive intervention to preserve stability and the status quo. It also presents a new body of empirical facts concerning the US and Japanese interventions in South Korea's regime transition during 1979 and 1980, utilising primary materials from US, Japanese and South Korean sources and in-depth interviews with diplomatic actors and policy-makers. The empirical findings concerning Japanese intervention in the South Korean regime challenge conventional views of Japanese foreign policy. They suggest a much more active role for Japan in the emergence of the regime of Gen. Chun Doo-hwan, whilst the Carter administration was increasingly preoccupied with the Iran hostage crisis.