Episode 1

Japan vs. South Korea: Asia’s Other Trade War

Released on November 3, 2019


The leaders of South Korea and Japan recently held talks for the first time in over a year; their aim, to resolve a long-running trade dispute. Taking this other trade war as their starting point, our experts look at relations between East Asia’s two biggest democracies. At a time when U.S. commitment to the region seems less of a given than in the past, and China’s ascendancy continues, how is this friction affecting the regional power balance? What are the challenges and opporunities ahead, particularly when it comes to Japan’s grand strategy? In our inaugural episode, we are joined by Sheila Smith (@SheilaSmithCFR) of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, and Richard McGregor (@mcgregorrichard) of the Lowy Institute in Sydney.

Sheila Smith

Sheila Smith is a senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. An expert on Japanese politics and foreign policy, she is the author of Japan Rearmed: The Politics of Military Power, Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China (released in Japanese as 日中 親愛なる宿敵: 変容する日本政治と対中政策), and Japan's New Politics and the U.S.-Japan Alliance. Smith is chair of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and the U.S. advisors to the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange. She teaches as an adjunct professor at the Asian studies department of Georgetown University and serves on the board of its Journal of Asian Affairs. Smith earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the political science department at Columbia University.

Richard McGregor

Richard McGregor is a senior fellow for East Asia at the Lowy Institute, an award-winning journalist and author of numerous books on East Asia. He was the Financial Times bureau chief in Beijing and Shanghai between 2000 and 2009, and headed the Washington office for four years from 2011. Prior to joining the FT, he was the chief political correspondent and China and Japan correspondent for The Australian. His book The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers won numerous awards, including the Asia Society in New York award in 2011 for best book on Asia. He was a fellow at the Wilson Center in 2015 and a visiting scholar at the Sigur Center at George Washington University in 2016. He graduated from Sydney University and began his career as a journalist in Sydney.


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