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The ROK-U.S. Alliance and Self Reliant Defense in the ROK

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Technical Report

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Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies Honolulu United States

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An alliance is a form of cooperative relationship between countries and it is a formal agreement or association between said countries to cooperate in providing security against common adversaries. The ROK-U.S. alliance is an exemplary model, which incorporates a cooperative relationship between the two countries. For over fifty years, the security cooperation system between the ROK and the U.S. has been primarily based on the 1953 ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty, the Security Consultative Meetings, and the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command defense system. For half a century, the ROK-U.S. alliance has effectively deterred the recurrence of war on the Korean peninsula and has contributed to the astonishing development of Koreas economic growth. The 37,000 USFK troops, along with its highly sophisticated early warning systems and formidable air power, have complimented the ROK force in providing a powerful deterrent against the North Korean threat. Simultaneously, it substantially alleviated the ROKs burden of maintaining a national defense budget without jeopardizing security on the peninsula. 204 Even today, the ROK-U.S. combined defense posture, which is centered on USFK assets, continues to act as the lynchpin of Koreas security, ensuring peace and stability of the Korean peninsula. Despite these crucial functions, the alliance has been depicted as lop-sided, with the ROK being overly dependent on the U.S. for security matters, unwittingly displeasing the Korean peoples pride. Similarly, USFK-related scandals and the inappropriate handling of criminal cases have caused sentimental controversy by raising sovereignty and national pride as political issues. The so-called anti-U.S. sentiment in Korea began spreading as acorollary to accidents and crimes that were induced by the USFK since the 1990s, and has now become a serious concern between the two countries.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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