Korea-U.S. Relations: The Politics Of Trade And Security

In This Review

Korea-U.S. Relations: The Politics Of Trade And Security

Edited by Robert A. Scalapino and Hongkoo Lee
Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 1989
256 pp. $17.00
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This volume, another in the University of California's prolific series of conference volumes on contemporary East Asia, contains the reflections of 17 American and South Korean specialists on the bilateral relationship between the two countries. For the wealth of information and insights on the relationship it has few, if any, rivals. One of the most thoughtful contributions comes from Sang-Woo Rhee, a professor at Sogang University and a specialist on the R.O.K. military. Rhee contends that South Korea's deterrence capability against North Korea is weakened by the disproportionately small size of South Korea's air force and navy. This is because the United States deliberately programmed its military aid in such a way as to make South Korean armed forces "structurally dependent" on the United States-a strategy designed, according to Rhee, to achieve two goals: deter a North Korean invasion and prevent any possible attempt by South Korea to pose a military threat to the North. The South Korean desire to "reclaim autonomy" in deterrence capability would require a stronger intelligence-gathering network along with a stronger air and naval force, a self-reliant logistics program and a reassertion of full operational control of its military command. U.S. policymakers, he says, need to acknowledge the changed state of affairs between the two allies.

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