Recalibrating the U.S.-Republic of Korea Alliance
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On October 18-20, 2001, the 16th Annual Conference of the Council on U.S.-Korean Security Studies was held in Washington, DC. Created in 1985 by retired generals Richard Stilwell of the United States and Sun Yup Paik of the Republic of Korea, the Council's aim was to initiate a conference that would bring together top scholars and practitioners on the most important issues facing the two countries and their important bilateral alliance. Since then, the Council has successfully hosted an annual conference, alternating every other year between meetings in Seoul and Washington. Because of the unexpected attacks on the World Trade Center in New York just 1 month prior to the conference, the papers did not capture adequately an assessment of the actual and potential impact of the terrorist attack on U.S. foreign policy, its implications for the two Koreas, and its probable effects on China and Russia. There were suggestions that the attack would have major effects, but few details about what those would be, which was understandable with so little time having elapsed since the attack. On the other hand, several authors stressed that in important ways much had not changed: U.S. commitments had not been shifted or weakened; the U.S. ability to militarily uphold its commitments had not been affected; and the solidarity of the ROK-U.S. alliance again had been demonstrated through South Korea's strong support for the war on terrorism.
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