| Tuesday marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of mutual defense treaty between South Korea and the U.S. The alliance has provided strong foothold for South Korea in overcoming the ruins of Korean War and achieving industrialization and democracy. Due to the signing of the treaty, the U.S. troops stayed in South Korea as a member of United Nations forces and prevented North Korea`s armed provocations. Based on military and economic aid agreement, a supplementary agreement, South Korea received 2.7 U.S. billion dollar support until 1961.
South Korea-U.S. alliance was hard-earned. The U.S. that had withdrawn their troops from South Korea in June 1949, maintained a negative stance when the late former South Korean President Rhee Syng-man requested a mutual defense treaty. The U.S. had said there was no precedence. As the U.S. that had forced many war dead rushed for an armistice agreement, President Rhee opposed to it and continuously put pressure on the U.S. that ultimately led to signing of a defense treaty. The treaty was one of the biggest achievements of President Rhee who had stayed au courant on international situations.
Even amid ups and downs in South Korean-U.S. relations, the alliance steadily evolved. In 2009, the two countries adopted a future alliance vision, going beyond regional security collaboration to create a base for a comprehensive value alliance to jointly contribute to global issues. The signing of a free trade deal between the two countries also served as a strong pillar for alliance.
A new Asia-Pacific era is opening, and South Korea-U.S. alliance needs to seek plans to harmonize with the rising China. Ultimately, the alliance should play the role of a facilitator of peace to prevent collision between the U.S. and China in the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia. U.S.-China cooperation is necessary for reunification of the two Koreas.
Tuesday also marks the 65th anniversary of the Armed Forces Day. U.S. Defense Secretary of Chuck Hagel visited South Korea Tuesday to hold a Security Council Meeting to discuss re-postponement of South Korea`s takeover of wartime operation control set in December 2015. Calm evaluation on North Korea`s nuclear program and wartime operation control issue will have to be made for a prompt decision on re-postponement. A win-win compromise will also have to be made, based on a spirit of alliance, on talks over U.S. share of defense costs in South Korea, the biggest pending issue between South Korea and the U.S., and atomic energy agreement.
While people could say most long-lasting alliances may sooner or later come to an end, and yet South Korea-U.S. alliance still is evaluated as one of the most successful. It is also strategically beneficial to the U.S. who is pursuing a return to Asia.