“The rocky relationship between two crucial Asian allies, Japan and South Korea, had deteriorated over the issue of wartime sex slaves. Later that year, with the help of the United States, the two countries reached a landmark agreement to resolve their historical dispute…

“‘When there’s a serious rift in the family, it’s hard to invite your friends over for dinner,’ said Daniel Russel, an Asia Society expert who was a high-ranking foreign policy official in the Obama administration.

“‘Given the magnitude of the challenges that we face from North Korea, China, et cetera … we can’t afford to be operating at anything less than full speed,’ Russel said. ‘There’s a broken circuit in our network at a critical junction, and it is imperative that that somehow get fixed…'”

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