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Monday, April 04, 20051112648100

South Korea: Not An Ally

"Roh Hints at New East Asian Order," Digital Chosunilbo, 22 March 2005, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200503/200503220024.html.

"Seoul Is Beginning to Reap What It Sowed," Digital Chosunilbo, 1 April 2005, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200504/200504010037.html.

"U.S. to Scrap Ammo Reserves for Korean Army," Digital Chosunilbo, 4 April 2005, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200504/200504040035.html.

"Korea Steps Up Military Cooperation with China," Digital Chosunilbo, 4 April 2005, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200504/200504040020.html (from OFK).

A state can be a positive force without being an American ally. While we distrust France, we recognize that the French economic engine is an important part of European trade. Likewise, India was a force for good in South Asia even when they were non-aligned.

So when Korea hints at leaving the Japanese-American alliance

President Roh Moo-hyun said Tuesday the power structure in East Asia will shift depending on what choices Korea makes.

At a graduation ceremony of the Korea Third Military Academy on Tuesday, Roh said Korea's new role was of a stabilizer for peace and prosperity not just on the Korean Peninsula, but in East Asia as a whole. "Korea will calculate and cooperate if need be, and move forward with its proper authority and responsibility," he said.

His comments were being read as a pointed reference to the country's alliances with the U.S. and Japan rather than a mere statement of principle. Among core figures in the administration, there is growing dissatisfaction with U.S. and Japanese policies in East Asia, including North Korea.


or when Korea approaches the Chinese orbit

Military exchanges between Korea and China will intensify to a level similar to those between Korea and Japan, the defense ministry said Monday.

"China, more than any nation, wishes for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula
, so we plan to strengthen our military exchanges with China, including making defense minister meetings a regular occurrence," Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung told reporters. "There is a need to raise the level of military cooperation between Korea and China to at least that shared between Korea and Japan, and it's worth thinking about plans to help stability on the Korean Peninsula with China's assistance."


we should see it as a challenge, not a disaster. South Korea is still a force for good. But the alliance is over. American blood should no longer to spilled to protect South Korea.

Fortunately, America has gotten the message

Lt. Gen. Charles C. Campbell, the chief of staff of the U.S. Forces Korea, said on Friday that 1,000 of the current 12,000 Korean employees of the USFK [United States Forces Korea, the American presence that protects South Korea under United Nations Command -- tdaxp] will be laid off and forces' support contracts cut by 20 percent over the next two years. Campbell also suggested relocating some key military equipment reserved here for an emergency from South Korea.

...

Given that the U.S. has been telling us that even if USFK strength is cut, it will try to leave as much equipment here as possible, it is hard to believe that cost saving alone is behind the move. No: this looks more as though the alliance is beginning to slacken.

The government must think carefully about the consequences, in terms of both responsibility and money, of advocating its "cooperative independent defense" and Korea's much vaunted new role as a stabilizer in Northeast Asia.


even if it means something as serious as this

The U.S. has unofficially informed Korea’s military authorities that it plans to scrap the War Reserve Stocks for Allies (WRSA) -- pre-positioned military supplies for use by Korea in times of emergency. But the Korean government and military say rather than destroy the stocks or ship them back to the U.S., Washington will ask Seoul to buy them.


That said, this is serious. This is a much, much, much greater rift than between Europe and America after the Iraq War. This is Korea saying it wants to shift sides, and America letting it. This is the greatest diplomatic gamble South Korea has ever taken and the greatest set-back for the Bush Amdministration, ever.

15:55 Posted in Korea | Permalink | Comments (3) | Tags: south korea, allies, roh, china, japan

Comments

In past 3,000 years, Korea submitted to China except recent 62 years. The only reason why South Korean engaged with the U.S. since 1945 is that the U.S. occupied and showed them possibility of having U.S. style life; democracy and especially prosperity that comes with. Now, both Korea and China is having that prosperity (to limited degree yet) so Korea is thinking to changing that alliance to China. It's also a self protection instinct because most of Koreans thinking that the U.S. is too far from the penisula in case of war break out with China so they want to be part of the aggressor.... even it means less independent. The U.S. should be expediting the troop withdrawal and reestablish the forward defense strategy by using Pacific, not the peninsula.

Posted by: ray | Friday, August 03, 2007

It traps China between an old ally (NK) and a new one. Gives the Chinese an incentive to settle the situation peacefully, but also puts them in a bind if NK finally blows.

Posted by: Michael | Friday, August 03, 2007

ray,

Among other problems, keeping large numbers of US troops near the border limits our options in dealing with Pyongyang. Victory comes from such things as maneuverability and concentration-of-fire, not lining up a bunch of men a few yards from enemy artillery.

Michael,

China clearly would like for North Korea to fade into into a colder version of Burma (friendly toward Beijing but not too troublesome), and for South Korea to continue mentoring China's economic growth (similar cultural background, and without the political complications of Taiwan). What's disturbing is not China working toward this goal, but South Korea's dangerous view that a fourth-rate regional power (behind the United States, China, and Japan) should act as a balancer instead of a partner.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, August 04, 2007

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