Small Wars Journal

It's time for a new U.S.-Korea alliance for a free, unified peninsula

Tue, 05/10/2022 - 11:17am

It's time for a new U.S.-Korea alliance for a free, unified peninsula

By David Maxwell & Chung Kyung-young


A photo released April 17 by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows the test-fire of a new type of tactical guided weapon from an undisclosed location. Photo by KCNA/ EPA-EFE


May 10 (UPI) -- A small group of civil society stakeholders from the Republic of Korea (South Korea), North Korea, the United States, Japan and China recently convened in the mountains of Virginia to address the security situation on the Korean Peninsula and examine what it will take to bring peace, prosperity and respect for human rights to all Koreans on both sides.

This followed a major conference held by the Global Peace Foundation, "U.S.-ROK Alliance for A Free and Unified Korea."


For more than seven decades, the complexity and uncertainty in Northeast Asia have led to a "strategic planning paralysis" that allowed only thinking about the symptoms and not treatment of the root cause of insecurity and suffering. The overwhelming consensus among the participants was that the primary reason for the current situation is the division of the Korean Peninsula since 1945.

The ROK-U.S. alliance's nearly sole focus has been on security. The alliance has successfully deterred a resumption of hostilities since 1953 and this has allowed the miraculous political, economic, and cultural achievements of the ROK. However, the threat from the Kim family regime has only grown. Today, the North is a rogue and failing nation that has weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them on the peninsula, throughout the region, and possibly even to the U.S. homeland. For more than three decades, the ROK and United States, as well as China, Russia and Japan, have failed to negotiate the denuclearization of the North.

What we have learned is that the Kim family regime continues to execute a dual focused strategy of political warfare and blackmail diplomacy combined with developing advanced warfighting capabilities. These two lines of effort serve two objectives: deterrence against the alliance and domination of the peninsula under northern ruleKim Jong Un demonstrated his hostile policy toward the ROK and United States with 15 missile tests since January, possible preparation for a nuclear test and statements threatening a pre-emptive strike.

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