CFR Presents

Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

A Comprehensive Vision for the U.S.-ROK Alliance

by Scott A. Snyder Sunday, February 1, 2009
South Korean citizens holding pictures of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak rally in support of the U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement (FTA) November 10, 2008 (Jo Yong-hak/Courtesy Reuters). South Korean citizens holding pictures of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak rally in support of the U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement (FTA) November 10, 2008 (Jo Yong-hak/Courtesy Reuters).

The U.S.-ROK security alliance has been one of the key components of U.S. policy in Asia for over five decades, but the alliance has traditionally been premised on the narrow coldwar task of guaranteeing security on the Korean Peninsula. South Korea’s transformation as a leading economic power and its transition from authoritarianism to democracy has led to the convergence of the two societies, expanding the potential for forms of cooperation that extend well beyond the peninsula. But the U.S.-ROK relationship has traditionally been conceptualized primarily in bilateral terms that focus solely on deterring new conflict on the Korean Peninsula while neglecting the need to establish a basis for cooperation in the service of shared regional and global interests in stability and prosperity. Read more »