"Since late 2008, relations between the United States and South Korea (known officially as the Republic of Korea, or ROK) have been arguably at their best state in decades. Much of the current closeness between Seoul and Washington is due to the policies undertaken by President Lee Myung-bak, who will leave office at the end of February 2013. His successor, Park Geunhye, is another conservative leader who is expected to maintain strong ties to the United States. However, while the overall U.S.-South Korean relationship is expected to remain healthy under Park, she also has hinted at policy moves--particularly with respect to North Korea and civilian nuclear cooperation--that could strain bilateral ties. Members of Congress tend to be interested in South Korea-related issues because of bilateral cooperation over North Korea, the U.S.-South Korea alliance, South Korea's growing importance in various global issues, deep bilateral economic ties, and the interests of many Korean-Americans. The 112th Congress held over 15 hearings directly related to South and North Korea."
CRS Report for Congress, R41481