Transforming the U.S. - South Korean Alliance
Recorded on April 24, 2008
Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium
The U.S.-South Korea military alliance has been a bedrock for
maintaining peace and stability in northeast Asia. The
inauguration of President Lee Myung-bak was welcomed by the United
States as was his pledge to strengthen the bilateral relationship
into a "future-oriented partnership." South Korea's growing
military capabilities and the decision to transfer wartime
operational command to Seoul have generated calls for evolving the
bilateral alliance to the next level. But achieving such a
fundamental transformation goes beyond weapons procurements and
instead requires a strategic assessment of the desired end-state
and envisioned roles, missions, and responsibilities. What
are the stumbling blocks or diversionary issues? What changes
need to occur in the mindset and military forces of both
countries? Is it simply a matter of the ROK deploying new
capabilities or must the U.S. adapt its perceptions as well?
Richard Lawless, Special Advisor to the Secretary of Defense and
former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, will address these issues
and provide recommendations for transforming the alliance.
Our panelists all have had long involvement in U.S.-South Korean
defense relations. Dr. Kurt Campbell served as Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia and the Pacific in the
Pentagon and Director on the National Security Council Staff.
Chuck Jones served on the National Security Staff as Director for
Asia. Kim Kyou-hyun is Minister for Political Affairs at the
Embassy of the Republic of Korea and served as Director-General of
the International Policy Bureau of the Ministry of Defense.