This reporter remembers visiting the Pentagon for the first time and thinking it was intimidating. Everything, from the rigorous security check that requires you to take off even your watch and uses a trained dog and a body scanner to the complicated structure of the building to military officials dressed in uniforms, made me nervous.
The Department of Defense tends to respond quickly to interview requests or questions, compared to other departments such as the Department of State. It has also been focusing on communicating more tailored messages to different regions such as by holding separate press conferences for the media from the Indo-Pacific including South Korea and Japan. Authorities repeat that they will cooperate closely with allies and partners not least because there is a growing need to manage the tensions in the region created by North Korea’s provocations and a bellicose China. However, it appears such efforts have been driven more by the fact that South Korea is an ally that the U.S. fought together in war and a major partner it signed the Mutual Defense Treaty with.
The Trump administration has changed the definition of an alley, and it is a concern for sure. The recent scaling back of the U.S. forces in Germany might affect United States Forces in Korea, and Seoul is facing increasing pressure to increase its contribution in Special Measures Agreement (SMA) negotiations. Amid increasing threats from Pyongyang, the White House has been embroiled in an argument where former National Security Advisor John Bolton and President Donald Trump blame each other for the collapse of the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi. It is truly worrying that the confusing Trump administration holds the key to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which will determine the future of South Korea.
However, pro-Seoul officials in Washington argue that this gives all the more reason to consolidate the bilateral relations even further and are confident they will be. Paul Goldstein, the CEO of Pacific Tech Bridge (PTB), said increasing threats from North Korea are changing the situation, adding that South Korea would not join hands with People’s Liberation Army of China for security. South Korea has to discuss the dispatch of highly advanced strategic weapons and the resumption of joint military drills with the United States.
June 25 marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean War, a time when we will think of the meaning of the alliance forged in blood with U.S. veterans. This should serve as an opportunity to discuss ways of evolving the alliance between the two nations in the long run, which can transcend particular administrations. We should put our heads together to break through in SMA negotiations, which has presented a challenge to the alliance.