Korean and U.S. Economic and Technological Capabilities to Support Defense Burdens

by Charles Wolf, Jr., Yong-Sup Han

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This Note examines certain aspects of the changing U.S. and Korean economic and technological capabilities bearing on military burdens and responsibilities. The extent to which the Korean position has improved relative to that of the United States suggests a presumptive increase in the capacity of Korea to bear these joint costs and burdens. The assessment also includes estimates of the expected economic and technological performance of Korea and the United States during the 1990s. At the macroeconomic level, the comparison of the two economies leads to two observations: (1) the Korean gross national product (GNP) is substantially increasing in size relative to the U.S. GNP and (2) per capita Korean GNP is also increasing rapidly relative to that of the United States.The Note concludes that, subject to appropriate alliance agreements and coordination between U.S. and Korean security policies, Korea's enhanced economic and technological capabilities, and their growth prospects, enable it to bear a larger share of the joint costs and responsibilities of the U.S.-Korean alliance.

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