Over five decades, the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) has focused on deterring military conflict on the Korean peninsula while neglecting to develop a more comprehensive bilateral relationship. The convergence of American and South Korean values has expanded the basis for cooperation in a wide range of areas, yet the U.S.-ROK relationship remains under-institutionalized in its vision and practical application to present-day challenges. By broadening the scope of partnership and deepening institutional forms of cooperation, the United States and South Korea can more effectively meet the potential for the relationship by cooperating on nontraditional security issues.
On January 5, the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at Brookings and the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy at The Asia Foundation hosted leading experts for a conference on prospects for expanding the U.S.-ROK partnership. Heejun Chang, associate professor at Portland State University, addressed climate change; Peter Beck, Pantech research fellow at Stanford University, addressed human rights; and Michael Finnegan, senior research associate at the National Bureau of Asian Research, addressed post-conflict stabilization. The conference was based on A Roadmap for Expanding U.S.-ROK Alliance Cooperation, a series of essays produced by the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy, and was part of a three-part symposium series, the first of which took place at Brookings in October 2009.
After the presentations, panelists took audience questions.