ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on January 17th, 2013 at 2:10 am

President-Elect Park Geun-hye Wants To Upgrade US-ROK Alliance

It should no be surprising that the incoming President of Korea Park Geun-hye is a strong supporter of the US-ROK alliance, but that doesn’t mean that Washington is going to have an easy time getting the changes to the alliance that they may try and advocate for:

South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye said Wednesday she will work closely with the United States to further upgrade the traditional alliance with Washington and to smoothly resolve pending issues based on mutual trust.

Park made the remark during a meeting with a delegation of senior U.S. officials led by Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, saying the alliance with Washington helped make South Korea what it is today. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the alliance.

“Looking back, I believe one of the most important elements behind the peace and prosperity” of South Korea was “the strong Korea-U.S. alliance,” Park said. “Freedom and economic development that we enjoy now was not granted for free. They are the result of South Korea and the United States working together and overcoming challenges and difficulties together.”

The two sides should upgrade their ties to a “comprehensive strategic alliance of the 21st century,” she said.  [Yonhap]

You can read the rest at the link, but one of the key issues that need to be resolved is that the South Koreans want to be allowed to enrich uranium and reprocess spent atomic fuel.  The treaty preventing the Koreans from doing this will soon run out and the US is likely to want the Koreans to renew the accord.  You can read details about this issue at the below link:

Another issue of interest is that the US wants the Koreans to agree to increase their share of the upkeep of the US-ROK alliance from 42% to 50%.  I have always felt that this is the fair percentage each side should pay:

It is also important to note that the Koreans also get a discount as it is on their share of the upkeep because they can use goods instead of cash to pay their share.  It will be interesting to see if this is something the US side will allow the Korean side to continue as part of the cost sharing negotiations.

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  • kushibo
    4:47 am on January 17th, 2013 1

    Rather than change the cost-sharing percentages, I’d rather see Seoul have a stepped-up role in patrolling waters from the Indian to Pacific Ocean, especially in anti-piracy efforts. The ROK is already doing this, but I’d like to see more so that there’s more clearly a partnership role.

    The continued US presence all but assures North Korea won’t invade and the other Northeast Asian neighbors won’t eventually go at each other, and that affords South Korea the opportunity to do more to make international waters safe, which is of huge benefit to South Korea’s international trade.

  • Glans
    7:40 am on January 17th, 2013 2

    kushibo, it’s nice when the South Koreans watch the world’s waters, but they’ve got to concentrate on their own waters.

  • Chris In Dallas
    10:04 am on January 17th, 2013 3

    This is all nice, but ROK really needs to plan beyond this alliance. In 15-20 years, the US is going to be too overwhelmed with welfare entitlements to be of much use to ROK security. Its time to put out tentative feelers to Japan or China.

  • kushibo
    12:58 pm on January 17th, 2013 4

    Glans wrote:

    kushibo, it’s nice when the South Koreans watch the world’s waters, but they’ve got to concentrate on their own waters.

    I don’t agree. With solid US support on the Korean Peninsula, South Korea is freed from the onerous task of maintaining a military so mighty that it would deter North Korean invasion completely on its own by its overwhelming threat of deterrence.

    At the same time it reduces South Korean pressure to maintain an unsustainably large military, that also frees up a normal-sized South Korean military forces to be used elsewhere. Given that the US and ROK have a mutual defense treaty, engaging in areas where they help the other is a logical action. The US has become a major target in the War on Terror, and so helping patrol against terror is something ROK forces can do to be a full partner with their US ally. Ditto with anti-piracy and efforts like the war in Afghanistan (and Iraq).

    For a variety of reasons, the ROK-US alliance shouldn’t be a one-way street. For decades, South Korean resources were necessarily focused on maintaining a large military in the event of another North Korean attack, or an invasion by China or even Russia, but the continued US military presence relieves a great deal of pressure by putting threat of use of the full force of the US military on the table as a deterrence (something which would be prohibitively expensive for South Korea to emulate). South Korea has been helping out its ally beyond the Peninsula for some time (South Korea was the US’s biggest ally in Vietnam, and maintained the third largest force in Iraq after the US and the UK, though they were in a “safe” area), and it needs to continue to do this in innovative and productive ways.

    I don’t agree with Chris in Dallas that US is going to be too overwhelmed financially to play the predominant role in global security, but I do believe it will make an alliance more palatable to bean counters in Washington who may lose site of the intangible financial benefits of deterrence if South Korea is “helping out” more elsewhere in the world.

    I do agree, too, that South Korea should more effectively work with Japan in this regard. However, this becomes difficult thanks to the obstacle posed by a Japanese right-wing that holds that Japan was a peaceful empire as it moved across Asia, that hundreds of thousands of women weren’t systematically rounded up and raped (and often left dead or dying) by Japanese military forces, that other countries are to blame for the millions killed during their expansionism, that the US forced Japan to war, etc., and which still honors the architects of that war as heroes and martyrs.

  • Leon LaPorte
    1:59 pm on January 17th, 2013 5

    3. No problem! We’ll just knock out a few platinum trillion dollar coins.

    4. But when the ROK’s deploy they go to (relatively) peaceful areas, hide on their installation, and build less than spectacular toilets. The Korean public (with a conscript army) can’t stomach body bags. It’s not like the expendable American professional soldiers. Most Americans have only seen soldiers on TV so it’s not as gut wrenching to lose a few every day. :roll:

  • Glans
    2:33 pm on January 17th, 2013 6

    Chris, have you heard that Russia has a flat tax? Gerard Depardieu has taken Russian citizenship, and Brigitte Bardot is considering it. Now it’s your turn. Become a Russian and pay a flat tax! And then Obama won’t be your problem anymore.

  • Leon LaPorte
    3:09 pm on January 17th, 2013 7

    6. 13% baby!

  • kushibo
    4:28 pm on January 17th, 2013 8

    Leon LaPorte, in Iraq I think that was true, owing largely to the difficult political circumstances Roh Moohyun found himself in (namely that he felt obliged to send a large number of troops to show the US that he considered them an important ally, while at the same time the South Korean public was largely opposed to the war in and of itself and Roh’s political base especially was angry that he was sending troops to that conflict).

    I don’t know enough about the Afghanistan mission, but I thought they were in more harm’s way there. More importantly, though, I don’t think ROK Navy is shirking their duty patrolling shipping lanes and joining anti-piracy efforts.

    The South Korean people can be (and often are) convinced of the worthiness of certain overseas missions, and that includes anti-piracy and Afghanistan (and even Iraq was sold with the idea that there could be economic benefits to helping rebuild Kurdistan.) The political fallout from body bags drops considerably when that happens.

    Finally, my understanding is that in combat roles at least, the soldiers have to be “volunteers” for overseas missions. Those who went to Iraq chose to do so (much like their Vietnam War vet forerunners) and some of them even took up the study of Islam in preparation.

    Again, nothing you’ve said undermines my point (not that that’s what you were trying to do).

  • kushibo
    4:30 pm on January 17th, 2013 9

    A flat tax helps promote and preserve plutocracy and oligarchy.

  • Hume's Bastard
    4:35 pm on January 17th, 2013 10

    If you love US, friend to Japan, and just sign the GSOMIA. If you can’t do that, what good is a dictator’s daughter?

  • Hume's Bastard
    4:37 pm on January 17th, 2013 11

    If you love US, be a friend to Japan, and just sign the GSOMIA. If you can’t do that, what good is a dictator’s daughter?

  • Leon LaPorte
    4:42 pm on January 17th, 2013 12

    8. Nope I wasn’t attempting to undermine your point at all. Just adding my 2 cents. I applaud the ROK Navy and what they are doing. I agree they could do more and I think the general population would support it. There is also a direct economic benefit as well as the experience the navy gains – real world operations trump even the best training exercises any day.

    I think the Korean role in Afghanistan has been limited to engineers (toilet builders?) and medical personnel, with well under 1000 (perhaps 500) total troops deployed. Oddly, I have seen a few ROK officers walking around with 2ID combat patches. Not sure what their role was.

  • Leon LaPorte
    4:43 pm on January 17th, 2013 13

    9. Hell, why settle for Russia and their 13% tax rate. If taxes are so onerous, I hear Somalia has a 0% tax rate.

  • Teadrinker
    4:54 pm on January 17th, 2013 14

    #9,

    I don’t know about that, but Putin is definitely a tyrant. He as eliminated most elections, freedom of the press, and the political party system, leaving Russians no alternative but taking to the streets to protest.

  • kushibo
    6:20 pm on January 17th, 2013 15

    Teadrinker (#14), I’m just echoing the Founding Fathers, like Jefferson, who believed that society and the ability to fairly govern was endangered when too much wealth is concentrated into too few hands.

    “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

    - Thomas Jefferson

  • kushibo
    6:27 pm on January 17th, 2013 16

    Religious zealots on the right are already starting to try to remove TJ from the minds of youth.

    While folks in my Gen-X cohort learned that TJ was a great thinker, who helped lay the groundwork for a great nation that could cure its ailments and heal its wounds through adherence to one of the greatest documents ever produced by man but who was also a flawed man who owned slaves, some have discovered that the man was a deist who thought God had played a cruel joke on humanity and, were he a politician today, Tea Partiers would label much of what he says as “$ø¢¡alist” and accuse him of being a secret Muslim (that infamous Koran he stored in his office…). Also, he believed in separation of church and state, which makes it difficult for religious zealots to control our state.

    I expect that when my kids’ kids are in school, it’s possible that they won’t learn about TJ at all, and there will be no more $2 bills.

  • Chris In Dallas
    9:32 pm on January 17th, 2013 17

    4: “I don’t agree with Chris in Dallas that US is going to be too overwhelmed financially to play the predominant role in global security”

    Look at any Western state with robust welfare programs. Every year the expenses for keeping people on welfare, paying for their healthcare, providing dirt cheap education, etc. increases. Every couple years they tend to carve a chunk out of their defense departments and scale back their contingency plans. There is no reason it this wont now happen to the US.

    ROK better start preparing…

  • Chris In Dallas
    9:33 pm on January 17th, 2013 18

    15/16: Praise for that slave owning and raping Cracker Jefferson?? Tsk tsk tsk.

  • kushibo
    9:51 pm on January 17th, 2013 19

    Chris in Dallas, deterrence is far cheaper than war. Just as preventive medicine is far cheaper than full-blown health care.

    Money can and will be saved so we can do the right thing.

    As for Thomas Jefferson, like all of us, he was a flawed person, but he was a great mind.

  • Chris In Dallas
    11:19 am on January 18th, 2013 20

    19: “deterrence is far cheaper than war. Just as preventive medicine is far cheaper than full-blown health care.”

    And even cheaper is to just walk away from foreign entanglements. Doubly so when one is in the process of taking over the healthcare industry, paying perpetual unemployment and whatever else the Democrats decide to take on.

    “Money can and will be saved so we can do the right thing.”

    History, economics and political theory say otherwise. Personally, I think President-Elect Park should offer Tom a cabinet position. He’s a smart guy and will help point Daehan Minguk in the right direction as to these matters.

  • Kangaji
    11:30 am on January 18th, 2013 21

    Anybody in my region of NC? I’m going to Duke to check this out tonight:

    Duke Korea Forum presents:

    Colloquium on South Korea’s Presidential Election

    The Park Geun-hye Presidency: What Can We Expect? What Can We Demand?

    6-8 PM, Friday, January 18, 2013, Franklin Center 240, Duke University

    With Sun-Chul Kim
    Korea Foundation Assistant Professor
    Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures
    Emory University

    South Korea’s presidential election, which took place on December 19,
    2012, was one of the most colorful and contested in South Korea’s
    history. The president-elect is Park Geun-hye of the conservative New
    Frontier Party, a tremendous politician with a prevailing legacy as
    the daughter of the former authoritarian president Park Chung-hee. She
    is also the first woman president of South Korea, a fact of historic
    importance. What can we expect from her presidency? And just as
    important, what can we demand? Come find out about the person, the
    issues, and the claims. Give us your insights. Conducted in Korean and
    English. With food and beverages.

    Organized by Duke Korea Forum and Department of Asian and Middle
    Eastern Studies.
    Sponsored by Duke University’s Program in Asian Security Studies (PASS).

  • kushibo
    2:15 pm on January 18th, 2013 22

    Chris in Dallas wrote:

    And even cheaper is to just walk away from foreign entanglements. Doubly so when one is in the process of taking over the healthcare industry, paying perpetual unemployment and whatever else the Democrats decide to take on.

    The United States prospers as a trading nation and a nation of innovation borne from a vigorous marketplace of ideas and commerce.

    In such a situation, the US prospers when as much as possible of the rest of the world is safe and prosperous. That alone makes the deterrence a wise investment vis-à-vis the alternative.

    Our commerce creates “foreign entanglements” where there wouldn’t otherwise be. Like it or not, that’s the state of our world today. Moreover, those entanglements tend to pull us in whether we like it or not. We lose far fewer lives and treasure, and create far more opportunity, with an effective deterrence in places we know to be hot spots.

  • Leon LaPorte
    3:55 pm on January 18th, 2013 23

    22. We lose far fewer lives and treasure, and create far more opportunity, with an effective deterrence in places we know to be hot spots.

    I would only caveat that with deterrence works against nation states with sane people running those states who have an interest in the future. That is why we haven’t done so well in the middle east and central Asia. PACOM is valuable, AFRICOM is worthless.

  • Glans
    5:26 pm on January 18th, 2013 24

    Chris, Russia has a non-interventionist foreign policy; combine that with the flat tax. If Gerard Depardieu can make the jump, so can you.

  • Chris In Dallas
    5:07 am on January 19th, 2013 25

    22: That’s my rhetoric, not yours. Yours is not being able to afford foreign adventures when seniors need “decent healthcare” and when we need to make sure “children in poverty have enough to eat”. You can’t afford both and you won handily enough this past November as to almost certainly make your thoughts in post 22 impossible to act on in the coming decades.

  • Chris In Dallas
    5:11 am on January 19th, 2013 26

    24: I’m hardly an isolationist, just being realistic. We’re on track to become lotus eaters just like those decadent fools in Western Europe. I hate it, but there it is.

    Its too late for America and our allies not to plan accordingly.

  • kushibo
    5:28 am on January 19th, 2013 27

    Chris in Dallas, I think you’re confusing the cost of waging war and the cost of washing peace.

  • kushibo
    5:29 am on January 19th, 2013 28

    Stupid autocorrect!

    washing peace –> waging peace

  • Hume's Bastard
    3:04 pm on January 19th, 2013 29

    @kushibo:

    I wish we could put this “isolationism” straw man in the can. The US could become isolationist if it tried. And, the debt is not the issue, either. It’s about the current kludge and reallocating money where it’s useful.

    For giggles, how about transferring the brigades in Germany to East Asia? In other words, reducing total world commitment by the brigades in South Korea, and putting some of the total in East Asia?

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    10:17 am on May 17th, 2013 31

    [...] President-Elect Park Geun-hye Wants To Upgrade US-ROK Alliance … Jan 17, 2013 … The two sides should upgrade their ties to a “comprehensive strategic alliance of the 21st century …. It’s not like the expendable American professional soldiers. …. 2012, was one of the most colorful and contested in South Korea’s … For giggles, how about transferring the brigades in Germany to East Asia? [...]

 

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