President Trump on Tuesday tweeted out that he will allow Japan and South Korea to purchase more sophisticated U.S. military systems and weapons.

“I am allowing Japan & South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States,” he wrote.

The move comes days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the test of a hydrogen bomb.

The White House said Monday Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in plan to “maximize pressure on North Korea using all means at their disposal.”

“President Trump also provided his conceptual approval for the purchase of many billions of dollars’ worth of military weapons and equipment from the United States by South Korea,” the White House said in a statement.

“Conceptual approval” is a nod toward the amount of time it takes to move purchases through the Foreign Military Sales process, which is handled by the State Department and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, and then approved by Congress.

Source: Washington Examiner

Why it’s on our radar: Strategically, this decision makes sense because it accomplishes two U.S. objectives in Asia. 

Providing Japan and South Korea with more sophisticated weapons gives U.S. forces additional capability in countering North Korea, should that become necessary; also, stronger, more powerful allies help Washington counter growing Chinese military power. 

While mustering the forces to take on North Korea won’t be difficult, doing battle with China so close to its own soil puts the U.S. at a huge disadvantage, having to move forces so far across the Pacific. Having more capable allies in the region helps even the odds.