The U.S.-ROK Alliance: Lynchpin for Managing Stability in the Asia-Pacific

Project Expert

Scott A. Snyder

Senior Fellow for Korea Studies and Director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy

About the Project

The U.S.-ROK alliance has succeeded beyond expectation in its evolution from a security-focused, military-dominated relationship dedicated to deterring North Korea to a multifaceted, comprehensive alliance. The relationship now faces two new challenges that require careful coordination and effective management: shifts in the geopolitical environment resulting from China’s rising power and South Korea’s evolving conception of itself as a middle power. U.S. rebalancing policy prioritizes Asia, but assumes levels of continuity in the security situation on the Korean peninsula that are not guaranteed. Effective management of these issues will require more time and political attention, and will be critical to maintaining a robust alliance amidst geopolitical uncertainly. With the Project on the U.S.-ROK Alliance, CFR’s Program on U.S.-Korea policy considers the impact of geopolitical shifts in relative influence of the United States and China on how to coordinate policy toward North Korea; the challenging regional security dilemmas South Korea faces as a result of rising nationalism in both China and Japan; the impact of South Korea’s middle power role for U.S.-ROK cooperation; and the potential strategic and policy implications of regional developments, including China’s rise and U.S. rebalancing policy, for South Korea. Through study group and roundtable meetings, articles, and blog posts on Asia Unbound, this project aims to identify issues, opportunities, and challenges in the U.S.-ROK alliance.

This project is made possible through the support of the Korea Foundation and the Smith Richardson Foundation.