Center for American Progress

RELEASE: How Japan and South Korea Can Respond to a Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Press Release

RELEASE: How Japan and South Korea Can Respond to a Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Washington, D.C. — As Russian troops threaten to invade Ukraine, a new issue brief from the Center for American Progress urges the United States to coordinate closely with Japan and South Korea to convince them to cooperate with international efforts.

Both the Japanese and South Korean governments have courted Russia in the pursuit of various strategic and economic goals and have been reluctant to subordinate their own interests to U.S. policy toward Russia. But there are sensible steps the United States can take to align the two countries with international efforts to counter a Russian invasion. These include increasing financial support for Ukraine and neighboring governments, suspending diplomatic and economic engagement with Russia, and encouraging Japan and South Korea to improve their domestic anti-money laundering legislation.

“Japan and South Korea should be encouraged to support international efforts to a greater extent than they did in response to Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014,” said Tobias Harris, a senior fellow at CAP and co-author of the brief. “Their support would show that democracies are unwilling to compromise their principles for the sake of commercial advantages.”

The brief recommends that the Biden administration take the following actions:

  • Coordinate closely with leaders of Japan and South Korea on the status of negotiations with Russia.
  • Swiftly confirm a U.S. ambassador to South Korea.
  • Encourage financial assistance to Ukraine.
  • Encourage allies to isolate Russia diplomatically.
  • Suspend development projects in the Russian Far East.
  • Encourage allies to strengthen anti-corruption legislation with their own versions of the United States’ Global Magnitsky Act.

Read the issue brief: “How Japan and South Korea Can Contribute to an International Response to a Russian Invasion of Ukraine” by Tobias Harris and Haneul Lee

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org.