Korea-Southeast Asia-US Relations: The Gap in the U.S. Triangle?
South Korea (Republic of Korea – ROK) is well recognizedfor achieving remarkable success: transforming itself from an impoverished, war-torn society into a modern, developed, and democratic nation within the span of one generation. Notably, for the first time in Korea’s long history this success has propelled the ROK onto the global stage with the capabilities to have a positive impact potentially far beyond the Peninsula. Yet, the ROK remains firmly embedded with the United States in a bilateral alliance which ensures that the fate of both countries and their future prosperity and security in the region are inherently tied to each other. While South Korea’s continued reliance on the United States for its primary security needs reinforces a certain dependence on the superpower, the ROK has cultivated over the past few decades a remarkable level of independent engagement in its own sub-region of Northeast Asia, the broader East Asia region, and the world.