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Instability in the US-ROK Alliance: Korean Drift or American Shift?

CollectionsANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC)
Title: Instability in the US-ROK Alliance: Korean Drift or American Shift?
Author(s): Taylor, Brendan
Date published: 2004
Publisher: Canberra, ACT: Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, The Australian National University
Series/Report no.: Working paper (Australian National University. Strategic and Defence Studies Centre) ; no. 392
The US-ROK alliance appears to be in a state of decline which many commentators regard as potentially terminal. The paper attributes this to Washington’s increasing proclivity to view Pyongyang through the lens of its global strategy of preventing the proliferation of WMD technologies and components to rogue states and terrorists groups, leading to a reduced emphasis on the more specific regional objective of deterring a North Korean attack against the South. Seoul has sought to compensate for the heightened sense of insecurity this shift has generated by pursuing an ‘engagement’ policy toward the North, while simultaneously undertaking a renewed drive to demonstrate the continued relevance of the US-ROK alliance and South Korea’s commitment to it. History suggests that this strategy will serve to improve South Korea’s relative security position vis-à-vis the DPRK while still ensuring that the US-ROK alliance remains intact. Yet there is also little to indicate that it will produce any genuine reduction in the tensions currently afflicting the relationship. Instead, the paper concludes that these appear destined to persist for some time, barring an improbable realignment of America’s global and regional strategic priorities.
ISBN: 731554590


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