The Strategic Environment in East Asia and U.S.-Korean Security Relations in the 1980s

by Norman D. Levin

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This Note assesses the likely influence of the evolving strategic environment in East Asia on U.S.-Korean security relations in the remainder of the 1980s. To assess this influence, the Note briefly examines recent trends in several main factors: (1) the great power military balance, the Soviet military buildup in the Far East, and Soviet policies toward the Korean peninsula; (2) the vagaries of the Sino-Soviet split and U.S.-USSR-PRC triangular relations; (3) the character of the Japanese-American relationship and the nature of the role of Japan; and (4) the evolving political, economic, and military situations in both North and South Korea. The Note also examines the probable role of the United States in the region. On the basis of this examination, the Note fashions a number of propositions concerning the likely future evolution of the strategic environment in East Asia, assesses their implications for U.S.-Korean security relations, and suggests several policy issues for future consideration.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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