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`Strong Alliance with Korea is Top Goal of Next US Pres.`

`Strong Alliance with Korea is Top Goal of Next US Pres.`

Posted July. 09, 2008 07:48,   


“Koreans want to feel that they are respected, full partners in their relationship with the United States. Achieving such a balance in bilateral ties should be a major priority for the next U.S. president.”

One of the most Korea-friendly voices in the United States, Korea Society President Evans Revere, stressed the quote in his essay carried by Far Eastern Economic Review titled “Heeling the Wounds of the Beef Battle.” “[Under the next president’s] watch, the major work of recasting the bilateral relationship will take place,” he said.

On anti-American beef protests that have been a thorn in bilateral ties, he said, “The angry protests over American beef … raised the dual concern that not only would Washington’s hopes for a stronger bilateral partnership be dashed but that, as so often in the past, relations with the United States would become the focus of popular protest in Korea.”

“Such concerns undoubtedly contributed to the Bush administration’s decision to show flexibility in response to Seoul’s request that the United States ‘renegotiate’ a bilateral agreement to reopen Korea’s market to U.S. beef. … It remains to be seen whether the U.S. concession … will calm the streets of Seoul.”

“How President Lee responds to this challenge and whether and how he manages to restore public confidence in his presidency will bear watching,” he said.

But Revere added, “Some South Koreans believe that the U.S. regards the concept of a global partnership as a means of pressing their country to support and pay for U.S. foreign policy, like it or not. [And] South Korean leaders need to take responsibility for explaining and defending the alliance to their own citizens…”

Urging swift action by the legislatures of both countries on the free trade agreement, he said, “The damage done by the recent beef dispute and the questions raised about the FTA during the U.S. presidential campaign may make it difficult to secure ratification until 2008.”