70 Years of Alliance
Defining the Future of U.S.-ROK Relations
On April 21, 2023, the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) held a briefing in coordination with the House Foreign Affairs Committee to inform staff of key issues in U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) relations in advance of President Yoon Suk Yeol ’s state visit. As this year marks the 70th anniversary of the U.S.-ROK alliance, President Yoon is scheduled to hold a summit with President Biden in the White House on April 26, and will address a joint session of the U.S. Congress the following day.
NBR’s experts discussed U.S.-ROK alliance in areas of security, trade, technology and geopolitics and offered concrete policy recommendations for the Congress. Mr. Yeo discussed threat shared by Washington and Seoul, including the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, North Korea’s growing nuclear threats, and potential military conflicts over the Taiwan Strait. He also forecasted key issues for the upcoming summit, such as bilateral technology cooperation and aligning diplomatic responses to China’s aggressiveness in the Indo-Pacific. Ms. Overby addressed South Korea’s concerns over the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and CHIPS Act. She noted that many South Korean businesses had not qualified for subsidies under the initial IRA rules and that Korean companies are still anxious about conditions for CHIPS subsidies, such as being required to share sensitive semiconductor technology. However, she commended efforts by the two countries to address mutual concerns regarding the implementation of this legislation. Both experts praised recent improvements in trilateral relations between the United States, South Korea and Japan, and offered thoughts on next steps to maintain momentum. Staff discussion covered Korea’s perspective on U.S. selective decoupling from China; strategies to assist Korea to withstand China’s economic coercion; South Korea’s recent nuclear armament discourse; and Korea’s domestic political dynamics.
Tami Overby, Advisor, The National Bureau of Asian Research and Senior Advisor, the East Asia & Pacific practice, Dentons Global Advisors-Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG)
Andrew Yeo, Senior fellow and the SK-Korea Foundation Chair, Brookings Institution’s Center for East Asia Policy Studies and Professor of Politics, The Catholic University of America
Josh Nezam, Director of Congressional Affairs, The National Bureau of Asian Research
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