Understanding New Political Realities in Seoul: Working toward a Common Approach to Strengthen U.S.-Korean Relations
The new administration of President Lee Myung-bak takes over the reins in Seoul in a climate in which there appears to have been some reevaluation of the U.S.-ROK relationship by the South Korea body politic. Perhaps due to the North Korea nuclear test, the controversy surrounding China’s historical claims on the ancient kingdom of Kokuryo, and the stark relief in which the alliance was placed by the negotiations on the transfer of wartime operational control, a sizable majority of South Korean voters clearly indicated their preference for an improvement in U.S.-Korean relations in Korea’s December 2007 elections. As this is the political base to which President Lee Myung-bak will be beholden, the current transition in Seoul likely represents a new political reality.
In order to better understand this new reality, the Mansfield Foundation, with support of the Korea Foundation, commissioned five papers from leading American scholars on how the U.S. and South Korea might forge a common approach on economic and humanitarian issues, denuclearization, a Northeast Asia peace and security mechanism; trade and economic relations; and the U.S.-ROK military alliance. These papers, including the introduction, recommendations and chapter summaries in Korean, were published as a book in March 2008.
Individual Chapters :
L. Gordon Flake, Executive Director, The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation; and Park Ro-byug, Associate, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University
David C. Kang, Associate Professor, Center for International Business, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College
Jon B. Wolfsthal, Senior Fellow, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Toby Dalton, Ph.D. candidate at The George Washington University, Luce Scholar to South Korea, 2001-02
R. Michael Schiffer, Program Officer in Policy Analysis and Dialogue, The Stanley Foundation; Fellow at the Center for Asia and Pacific Studies at the University of Iowa
Jeffrey J. Schott, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Bruce E. Bechtol Jr., Professor of International Relations, Marine Corps Command and Staff College