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Korea-U.S. Alliance: Broken Marriage

Posted March. 01, 2006 05:45,   


“The South Korea-U.S. relationship resembles that of a king and a queen who go their separate ways while maintaining their marital status,” said Kurt Campbell (photo), vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), on February 27 at a seminar held by the Korea Economic Institute (KEI) in Washington D.C.

“To be honest, the South Korea-U.S. relationship is a cause for concern. We need to be frank about alliance problems,” Campbell, the deputy assistant secretary of defense during the Bill Clinton administration, added. “You can recall a king and a queen feigning a happy relationship, waving their hands to the cheering crowd from the palace balcony despite their disastrous marriage life. The king and queen go back to their own separate lives once they leave the balcony.”

He elaborated on this dual attitude, saying, “The U.S. and Korea do not want an official separation because they well know the painful consequences of a divorce.”

He continued, “The two countries used to provide conflicting views on the North Korean threat in the six-party talks.”

Meanwhile, Korea’s Ambassador to the U.S. Lee Tae-sik offered a different analysis in the day’s seminar, saying, “The South Korea-U.S. alliance has entered a ‘safe’ phase despite previous pending issues.”

Seung-Ryun Kim srkim@donga.com