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PacNet #12 – ROK-U.S. Relations: Revitalizing the Alliance

The Feb. 25 inauguration of Lee Myung-bak as the Republic of Korea’s new president opens the door for a revitalization of the ROK-U.S. alliance, a relationship that has been severely tested and strained in recent years as a result of policy differences and more fundamental “vision” differences between Washington and Seoul. An increasingly pragmatic approach toward the Korean Peninsula on the part of Washington and the advent of a more conservative, pro-alliance government in Seoul makes improved relations more likely and perhaps even somewhat easier to achieve, but by no means assured. If the alliance relationship is to be truly revitalized, both sides need to take some decisive steps, sooner rather than later.