The Washington-Seoul Alliance in the Time of North Korea’s Denuclearization
Following a dangerous escalation of tensions last year, few could have envisaged the rapid turnaround in events witnessed so far amidst a flurry of high-level summit diplomacy. Although the complete denuclearization of North Korea remains a hypothetical scenario for now, its prospect would herald huge implications not only for inter-Korean relations, but also regional security dynamics in Northeast Asia. A key question, therefore, is how a process of denuclearization would impact on the U.S.-ROK alliance – an alliance which in October will commemorate 65 years since the mutual defense treaty was signed between the two sides in 1953.
North Korea’s perceived military threat constitutes a key rationale for American military alliances with South Korea and Japan. The U.S.-ROK alliance is arguably at its strongest when North Korea is deemed to be the greatest threat. Accordingly last year, responding to a succession of missile and nuclear tests, President Moon Jae-in not only sanctioned the largest joint military exercises yet seen between the two allies, but also fast-tracked the installation of the contentious U.S. THAAD anti-missile system, at the expense of South Korea’s relations with China.
Towards a New Conflict Management System on the Korean Peninsula: A Military Perspective
In this essay, Major General (ret.) Mats Engman assesses the lack of a viable conflict management system on the Korean Peninsula. While the nearly seven decades-old Armistice Agreement and focus […]
Understanding North Korea’s Internal Strategy
In light of the recent, positive developments on the Korean Peninsula (chief among them the apparent 180-degree turnaround by Chairman Kim Jong Un on the issue of denuclearization) it is […]
Not a Sovereignty Issue: Understanding the Transition of Military Operational Control between the United States and South Korea
Abstract The transition of operational control (OPCON) is of significant importance for the future development of the alliance of the Republic of Korea and the United States (KORUS). However, it […]
South Korean Military Preparedness in the Shadow of the Pandemic
Abstract The Covid-19 pandemic is impacting both the preparedness of the South Korean military and its cooperation and coordination with American forces on the Korean Peninsula. Nonetheless, the military preparedness […]
“A People’s Peace”: Inclusive Peacebuilding and the Role of Civil Society in Korea
In this essay, Alec Forss assesses how the concept of inclusive peacebuilding applies to the Korean Peninsula, with a particular focus on the role of civil society in South Korea. […]
U.S.-North Korea Denuclearization Negotiations: An Irresolvable Issue?
Series on Peacebuilding on the Korean Peninsula This essay is part of an ongoing series by ISDP’s Korea Center to provide different perspectives on peacebuilding on the Korean Peninsula. In […]