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Global Korea in International Security: Why It Is Likely to Last

by Scott A. Snyder
October 23, 2012

South Korean soldiers salute during the inauguration ceremony of the Dongmyong peacekeeping troops bound for Lebanon, in Gwangju (courtesy Reuters)


The agenda for the annual U.S.-ROK Security Consultative Meeting to be held this week in Washington between South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, will inevitably focus on how to keep the Korean peninsula stable against potential North Korean provocations. However, with South Korea’s decision to contribute resources to a variety of international peacekeeping and stabilization missions, U.S.-ROK security cooperation has gone global.

My new CFR ebook, with chapters by Scott Bruce, John Hemmings, Balbina Hwang, and Terrence Roehrig, describes the expanding scope and variety of Korean contributions to international stability, reflecting an agenda that extends well beyond the Korean peninsula alone. The ebook analyzes the significance of a variety of South Korean operations, including South Korea’s contribution of peacekeepers in Haiti and Lebanon, Korean participation in ongoing antipiracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden, the contribution of a Korean Provincial Reconstruction Team to multinational stabilization operations in Afghanistan, and South Korea’s membership in the Proliferation Security Intiative (PSI). South Korea has grown into each of these new areas of security collaboration with the United States within the past five years, and is well-positioned to continue as a “middle power” partner in multilateral security operations in the future.

The ebook provides four primary recommendations for why South Korea should continue to “go global” in international security, despite the evident sacrifice and cost that accompany such operations. First, South Korea gains prestige and respect as both an economic and a security leader in the international community. Second, the lessons South Korea learns from participation in such operations have potential applications back at home, especially in the event of North Korea’s destabilization. Third, South Korean economic interests, including in the nuclear plant export sector, will be strengthened by South Korean contributions to nonproliferation, export controls, and the safe operation of nuclear plants around the world. Fourth, South Korean security contributions may have valuable applicability to the maintenance of regional stability in Asia that may in turn promote the long-term vision of a stable Asian community. I hope you enjoy the ebook.

Post a Comment 2 Comments

  • Posted by bob walker`

    Dear S/M,
    I have purchased the ‘ ebook ‘ re, this article.Before I start reading I was wondering if the author thinks there is a profound difference in character between the peoples of the North and South.
    I was comparing them to the Scots and the English.Both reside in approximately the same land mass area but regarding the character of the people there is a profound difference which may manifest itself in thhe creation of two independent countries.
    North Korea is politically different from the South but do you think consideration should be given to them joining forces in a fight against a common enemy,as Scotland and England have been doing for centturies.
    If you choose to answer I expect a resounding NO !~
    However are there ANY circumstances at all where such an event might transpire……….bob

  • Posted by Scott Snyder

    North and South Korea have staked out similar positions regarding historical issues involving both China and Japan, but at this stage I think there is a low likelihood that inter-Korean cooperation would extend beyond rhetorical support for shared positions on specific historical issues. Hope you enjoy the book. Scott

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