The balancer policy reviewed from the perspective of the ROK-U.S. alliance: toward a mature ROK-U.S. alliance
Olsen, Edward A.
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This thesis examines the viability of the South Korean balancer policy in terms of the ROK-U.S. alliance and suggests directions in which the alliance should proceed. The balancer policy announced by President Roh in March 2005 implies that, if it is adopted, South Korea will play the role of a balancer between the regional powers in Northeast Asia. The so-called balancer policy has been a source of controversy since its announcement, as the pros and cons of South Korea's balancer policy have been debated both at home and abroad. The balancer policy announced by the president as a national foreign sttrategy is worth consideration because it has provided South Korea with an opportunity to think about its future foreign policies in terms of the ROK-U.S. alliance. Considering that the ROK-U.S. alliance has been a linchpin of South Korean foreign policy for the last half century and that the alliance has not only deterred North Korean aggression but has also helped create a stable environment for economic development and democratic consolidation in South Korea, it is clear that any policy options which may deteriorate the ROK-U.S. alliance should be avoided. Whatever policy option that is adopted should contribute to the strengthening of the ROK-U.S. alliance by overcoming currently emerging frictions and mistrust between the two countries.
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