For the past fifty years South Korea and the United States have successfully contained the threat of a North Korean invasion with the resulting peace contributing to the security of both nations and the Asian Pacific region as a whole. Yet security concerns in the Northeast Asian and Pacific region have changed significantly since the early 1950s when the Korean-U.S. alliance was formed. The Cold War has ended, and the improvement of U.S.-China relations has changed the security climate around the Korean peninsula. These changes in the regional security environment dictate the need to find a potentially new model for the South Korea-U.S. alliance. In researching the two nations' military security alliance, three approaches should be taken. First, identifying the mid- to long-term security benefits for the two nations and analyzing any common and competing interests. Second, creating feasible alternatives to the current alliance model that can achieve common security interests. Third, applying a set of standards to these alternatives and evaluating them to identify the optimal relationship. This essay will pursue these approaches.
Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil
Strategic Insights (October 2003), v.2 no.10