Bolstering the 70-year alliance further

2023. 9. 26. 20:17
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The Yoon administration must demonstrate its diplomatic skills to consolidate the alliance while closely watching the U.S. presidential race.

Oct. 1 marks the 70th year of the South Korea-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty. After President Syngman Rhee steadfastly asked the United States to establish a security protection system, even before the signing of the Korean War Armistice on July 27, 1953, the U.S. accepted the request. Following a provisional agreement on the defense treaty on Aug. 8 the same year in Seoul, both sides signed the treaty on Oct. 1 in Washington.

The Korea-U.S. alliance has effectively defended against any invasion or threat from Communist forces on the frontline for the past seven decades. Thanks to the ironclad alliance, South Korea was able to achieve marvelous economic growth and became one of the top 10 economies in the world. That’s why the alliance deserves praise.

Ahead of the extended Chuseok holiday vacation, the Yoon Suk Yeol administration held a ceremony at the Seoul Air Base to commemorate the 75th year of the establishment of our Armed Forces. In a speech under the theme “Strong military, sound security, and peace based on power,” the president pledged to “reinforce the Korea-U.S.-Japan security cooperation based on the solid Korea-U.S. alliance” and bolster “our security posture through the close cooperation of allies.” He warned North Korea that if it chooses to use nuclear weapons against the South, the Pyongyang regime will collapse. As the alliance has evolved to a “highly-advanced alliance based on nuclear capabilities,” the two allies will respond with an “overwhelming response,” Yoon said.

Following the ceremony at the air base, a large-scale military parade was held in downtown Seoul — the first since 2013. The dovish Moon Jae-in administration replaced it with a performance by entertainers in 2018.

The military parade showed off the Korean-style “three-axis system” — based on the Kill Chain pre-emptive strike, the Korean Air and Missile Defense, and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation — to effectively deal with North Korean nuclear and missile provocations. The long-range surface-to-air missile (L-SAM) interceptors also appeared for the first time. The march of over 300 combat soldiers from the U.S. Forces Korea symbolized the solidarity of the alliance.

Just as U.S. State Secretary Tony Blinken’s description of the alliance as “a pivotal global partnership” suggests, the scope of the alliance is expanding to the industrial, science, technology and information fields after the Korea-U.S. summit in April. But the United States also must care for its ally’s economic interests amid the Sino-U.S. hegemony battle. The Yoon administration must demonstrate its diplomatic skills to consolidate the alliance while closely watching the U.S. presidential race.

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