pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

Issues & Insights Vol. 07 – No. 07

Tensions in the U.S.-ROK relationship are not new. The two countries’ alliance has survived repeated stresses and strains. President Jimmy Carter’s promise to reduce the U.S. force presence in South Korea in 1977 alarmed conservatives in both countries who feared the move would undermine deterrence and send the wrong signal to North Korea. The kidnapping of dissident Kim Dae-jung in 1973 prompted harsh warnings to Seoul from the U.S. that his “disappearance” would do great damage to the alliance. The 1993 North Korean nuclear crisis raised fears in South Korea of a U.S. preemptive strike that would leave the peninsula in flames; the subsequent 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework angered then ROK President Kim Young-sam who felt marginalized by its negotiating process.