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An Overview of the ROK-U.S. Alliance

Why do nations form alliances? According to realists, nation states are the key actors and the survival under anarchic system with no global government is a major concern.

Hans J. Morgenthau mentions in his book that forming an alliance is the most significant method of maintaining a balance of power, peace and stability in the international community. He points out that two states with common interests are fundamental in forming an alliance.

According to Stephen M. Walt, an alliance is a formal or informal commitment to security cooperation between two or more states.

Robert E. Osgood defines alliance in his article as a formal or informal agreement between two or more states, which assures mutual military support when needed to address a common threat. These definitions of alliance can explain the circumstances under which the ROK-U.S. alliance came into effect, more than 50 years ago. The relationship between the Republic of Korea and the United States began in the aftermath of the end of the World War II when the Americans came to Korea to disarm Japan.

However, a formal alliance between the two countries began after the Korean War. Washington originally intended on leaving the Korean peninsula after stabilizing the country in the post-WWII era. But after the surprise attack from North Korea on June 25, 1950, the U.S. remained involved in the Korean War.

Communists in the northern part of the peninsula wanted to unify the two Koreas by means of force and establish a new communist regime. This was a very serious threat for the survival of Korea. Considering the absolute inferiority of its military strength the Korean government had to rely on the U.S. The coalition forces led by the U.S. played a critical role in dealing with North Korea’s military. The coalition forces had operational control of the ROK’s military forces and this later created the framework for the Mutual Defense Treaty for the Republic of Korea with U.S. forces in Korea (USFK).

For Washington, Korea falling under communist rule was a very undesirable scenario. Mainly because it would be a direct threat to Japan, which was strategically very important to the U.S. Also, firm and strong alliances were very important to the U.S. during the Cold War era. The U.S. committed itself to the Korean War to stop Korea from falling into the hands of communists.

In sum, the Korean government’s dependence on the U.S. for its defense of the Korean peninsula and strategic interests of the U.S. resulted in the formation of ROK-U.S. alliance. The ROK-U.S. alliance’s main goal is to deter North Korean provocations as well as stabilize Northeast Asia.

질문&어휘 문법TIPs 해석
questions

1. Define alliance in your own words.

 

2. Why do nations form alliances?

 

3. What is the role of the ROK-U.S. alliance?

vocabularies

anarchic 무정부 상태의/

 

alliance 동맹/

 

disarm 무장 해제시키다/

 

coalition forces 연합군/

 

operational control 작전 통제/

 

undesirable 원하지 않는, 달갑지 않은/

 

 provocation 도발, 자극/

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