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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tracking Number:  297782

Title:  "Fact Sheet: US-Korea Relations."

Covers various aspects of the US-South Korea relationship including: trade, security, and South Korea's foreign relations. (930719)

Date:  19930719


Fact Sheet: U.S.-Korea Relations

President Clinton made his first official visit to South Korea on July 10-11, 1993. He met with President Kim Young Sam to discuss bilateral and regionalissues of concern.

Since the 1950s, the relationship between the United States and South Korea--the Republic of Korea (R.O.K.)--has developed into one of the most important in Asia. Two of its central aspects are the issues of security and of economics and trade. While security is a prime concern and the United States remains committed to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, economics and trade are becoming ever more important in the U.S.-Korea relationship.


The U.S. agreed in the 1954 U.S.-R.O.K. Mutual Defense Treaty to help the Republic of Korea defend itself from external aggression. In support of that commitment, the U.S. maintains about 37,000 service personnel in Korea, including the Army's Second Infantry Division and several Air Force tactical squadrons. To coordinate operations between these units and the 650,000-strong Korean armed forces, a combined forces command (CFC) was established in 1978.

Several aspects of the security relationship are changing as the U.S. moves from a leading to a supporting role. South Korea has agreed to pay more of the U.S. defense costs, to fund relocation of the large U.S. headquarters garrison to Yongsan from Seoul, and to accept changes in the CFC structure. The United States and Korea have agreed to the transfer of peacetime operational control to Korea.

The United States supports direct, government-to-government talks between the authorities of South and North Korea. The U.S. believes that the fundamental decisions on the future of the Korean Peninsula must be made by the Korean people themselves.


Korea is now the United States' seventh-largest trading partner, and the U.S. seeks to further develop mutually beneficial economic relations by striving for greater access to Korea's expanding market and improved investment opportunities for U.S. business. Although the Korean bureaucracy has been reluctant to abandon industrial protection and the state-directed policy which played an important role in the country's industrialization, President Kim's economic reform plans mark a dramatic departure toward a more liberal, market-based economic system. Korean leaders seem determined to successfully manage the complex economic relationship with the United States and to take a more active role in international economic forums as a major trading nation.

South Korea's Foreign Relations

South Korea is committed to peaceful settlement of international differences and is becoming more active in international affairs. It joined the UN, along with North Korea, in 1991, and is active in most UN specialized agencies. South Korea has made efforts to join or participate actively in many other international forums, ranging from the Antarctic Treaty to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It has diplomatic relations with 148 countries and an even broader network of trading relationships.

Korea's economic growth, energy requirements, and need for basic raw materials and for markets have given economic considerations high priority in the country's foreign policy. In light of these concerns, Korean diplomacy in recent years has concentrated on broadening its international base of support with Third World nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and Middle Eastern states. Korea wants to participate actively in Pacific Basin economic affairs.

A 1965 treaty normalized relations between Japan and Korea, and the two nations have developed an extensive relationship centering on mutually beneficial economic activity. Although the legacy of historic antipathies has at times impeded cooperation, relations at the government level have improved steadily and significantly in the past several years.

The R.O.K.'s pursuit of wide-ranging relations with former and current communist nations has met with notable success. In February 1989, Hungary became the first communist nation to establish full diplomatic relations with the R.O.K. The R.O.K. now has diplomatic relations with Russia and all Eastern and Central European countries except Albania. In early 1991, the R.O.K. and People's Republic of China exchanged trade offices, and the two countries established diplomatic relations in August 1992.

South Korea has hosted a series of prestigious international events, including the 1988 Summer Olympics.


Product Name:  Dispatch, Vol 4 No 29 Jul 19 1993
Product Code:  DP
Document Type:  TXT
Thematic Codes:  1EA
PDQ Text Link:  297782

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