Strengthening U.S.-ROK Relations in the New Administrations of the United States and South Korea

Findings from an October 2016 RAND Corporation Conference

by Bruce W. Bennett, Booseung Chang

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In October 2016, the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy and the Sejong Institute held a conference on strengthening relations between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK). This conference brought together leading U.S. and ROK scholars to share ideas about and address the potential challenges facing the two countries under new leaderships. It was held just before the U.S. 2016 presidential election and a little more than a year before the next ROK presidential election was scheduled for 2017. Keeping these uncertainties in mind, the conference participants focused on key alliance issues that would shape relations. These included security concerns, such as ROK and U.S. views on regional security interests, the role of extended deterrence, and the U.S. nuclear umbrella; managing Korean unification via trilateral cooperation among the United States, the ROK, and China; and regional and economic relations focusing in particular on China's view of North Korea, and U.S.-ROK economic cooperation. This summary outlines the presentations and discussions from the conference.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Session 1: Strengthening U.S.-ROK Security Relations in the New Administration

  • Chapter Three

    Session 2: Panel Discussion on Managing Korean Unification via Trilateral Cooperation Among the United States, South Korea, and China

  • Chapter Four

    Session 3: Regional and Economic Relations in the New Administration

  • Chapter Five

    Concluding Remarks

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This project is a RAND Venture. Funding was provided by gifts from RAND supporters and income from operations. The research was conducted by the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy within International Programs of the RAND Corporation.

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