For half a century, the alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States focused on the threat from North Korea. But today, as South Korea moves toward reconciliation with the North on the basis of a strong a credible deterrence, the two countries need a strategic plan that defines shared objectives and the means for achieving them, identifies possible problems, and suggests how to deal with those problems. Such a plan would help guide current discussion on the future of the alliance and would provide a clearer vision of why we maintain the alliance and what we gain from it. It should identify a mutually agreeable approach to propose to North Korea as part of multilateral discussions. Developing such a plan will not be easy because the two governments do not view some critical issues in the same manner. But the effort to describe and explain these differences may resolve some of them and prepare the way for adjusting the U.S. military presence in Korea and creating a peace regime on the peninsula.
Originally published in: Strategic Forum, no. 197, April 2003, pp. 1-6.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.