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U.S. Redefines Alliances Amid China Threat

Daniel Kim Views  

ⓒAP/Newsis

President Joe Biden of the United States expressed his intention to shift his alliance policy from protection to projection during his summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

It is expected that he will actively utilize a small multilateral system to counter the common threat, namely China, shifting away from the traditional bilateral-centered alliance policy.

In this context, it is predicted that a constitutional change in the US-Korea alliance, which has been focusing on responding to the North Korean threat, is inevitable, and it is important for South Korea to respond swiftly.

Professor Park Won Gon of Ewha Womans University said in a recent video commentary on “North Korea and the World” by the East Asia Institute (EAI), “The US is changing the entire alliance structure in the Indo-Pacific region,” and “The turning point was the recent US-Japan summit.”

He explained that the U.S. is moving away from the past where it formed fan-shaped bonds by establishing bilateral alliances with each country in the region with the U.S. as center. The country is now weaving a new mesh by forming multiple small multilateral cooperation bodies and overlapping the alliances within the region.

Park said, “We need to pay close attention to the two words the U.S. keeps mentioning,” adding, “One is protection and the other is projection.”

Until now, the U.S. has protected its allies based on bilateral relations, but in the future, it is expected that the U.S. and its allies will join forces through multilateral cooperation bodies to project against common threats.

Park pointed out that “The primary target of the common threat is China,” and “A very small part of North Korea is also a target.”

According to this trend, Park pointed out that “change is inevitable” in the U.S.-Korea alliance as well. He emphasized, “The basic goal of the U.S.-Korea alliance is, of course, responding to North Korea. However, the U.S. is changing the alliance structure. It will develop the U.S.-Korea alliance and utilize it in diverse ways in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Park further explained, “The U.S. has long made the Indo-Pacific region a light bulb. This means that all forward-deployed U.S. forces are used, whether it’s a Taiwan Strait crisis or a Korean Peninsula crisis.” He added, “The possibility of using U.S. forces in Korea in the event of a Taiwan Strait crisis is very high, and it is clear that U.S. forces in Japan would be used in the event of a crisis on the Korean Peninsula.”

Park stated, “In the event of a Taiwan Strait crisis, South Korea cannot avoid involvement at the alliance level. If South Korea does not choose change, the U.S.-Korea alliance becomes meaningless. It’s hard to think that we have much choice.”

This can be interpreted as the U.S.-Korea alliance having no choice but to expand its involvement beyond the Korean Peninsula.

ⓒNewsis

With the expansion of the U.S.-Korea alliance role, adjustments to the security structure on the Korean Peninsula seem inevitable. If U.S. forces in Korea increase their interest in the Indo-Pacific region, it is predicted that South Korea’s burden related to countering the North Korean threat will inevitably increase.

Park added, “The U.S.-Korea operational plan includes a large number of U.S. reinforcements coming in case of a crisis on the Korean Peninsula. However, that will be very unlikely (in the future).” He added, “Some U.S. Air Force and Navy forces will come in, but South Korea will have to take primary responsibility and respond to conventional warfare.”

It is especially pointed out that depending on the result of the U.S. presidential election, what the U.S. expects from South Korea can significantly increase. Park emphasized, “Already, someone who claims to be a Trump confidant is publicly talking about how South Korea should be responsible for its defense.”

However, many views believe the burden should be seen as an opportunity. It is predicted that South Korea will be able to seek U.S. understanding concerning the security of potential nuclear capabilities in the dimension of taking responsibility for suppressing North Korean nuclear missiles.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

Comments1

300

Comments1

  • Jerry

    So, if this effects the treaty with South Koria and or Japan, should it not have to be brought before the U.S, Senate before any final actions are completed? After all, the U.S. Senate has to approve all treaties before the President can make them.

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