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U.S.-South Korea Alliance Critical, Stress Experts in New Book

February 17, 2012


As President Obama's new defense strategy seeks to shift resources to Asia, and the future of the Korean Peninsula remains uncertain, the United States will "increasingly seek partnerships with other like-minded countries [in the region] to ensure global stability, security, and prosperity." In a new volume of collected essays, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Scott Snyder writes that one of the strongest partners for the United States is South Korea.

South Korea's "contributions to and influence on the international community are expanding, creating opportunities for expanded partnership, in both functional and geographic scope," writes Snyder in this compilation, The U.S.-South Korea Alliance.

In 2009, the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) agreed to a comprehensive security alliance. As a result, the foundations are being built for "comprehensive cooperation that has come to characterize the transatlantic relationship at a time when Asia's rise enhances the U.S. need for like-minded Asian partners who share common regional and global interests."

Despite different political priorities on tactical issues such as policy towards North Korea, there is increasing overlap between the interests of both countries, Snyder writes. This volume "evaluates the potential, rationale, and existing capabilities for both sides to support expanded U.S.-ROK cooperation in response to specific nontraditional and global security challenges."

The book covers nine areas of cooperation between the two countries, including counterterrorism, maritime security, space, pandemics, postconflict stabilization and reconstruction, peacekeeping, overseas development assistance, nonproliferation, and climate change. In each chapter, the authors, experts from a wide range of fields, consider the capacities and potential for cooperation on both sides, assess the corresponding challenges, and propose new forms of collaboration.

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Scott Snyder is senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is author of China's Rise and the Two Koreas: Politics, Economics and Security, and Negotiating on the Edge: North Korean Negotiating Behavior, and coeditor (with L. Gordon Flake) of Paved with Good Intentions: The NGO Experience in North Korea.

The Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy.

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