The deployment of the THAAD system has become a thorn in China’s ties with the United States and South Korea, with ample evidence suggesting that the three countries are divided on the understandings, purpose, and strategic motives of the THAAD system in South Korea.
So far, South Korea’s president has successfully engaged North Korea—but it is unlikely he can sustain this approach without delivering on domestic promises.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in allocated the bulk of his political capital to inter-Korean engagement during the first year and a half of his presidency. This strategy has paid dividends thus far. However, domestic and geopolitical forces are likely to determine his agenda’s success.
The fundamental longer-term question is, if peace and security sink deep roots on the Korean landscape, what security role the United States should assume not only on the Korean Peninsula but also toward Northeast Asia more broadly.
Cybercrime seems invisible. Attacks arrive out of nowhere, their origins hidden by layers of sophisticated technology. Only the victims are clear. But every crime has its perpetrator—specific individuals or groups sitting somewhere behind keyboards and screens.
For the moment, the declared goals of the two Koreas appear well-aligned. Yet, skeptics were quick to contend that the summit was a mere exercise in symbolism.
A half-day conference—featuring scholars and former officials from Japan, the United States, and South Korea—will examine practical denuclearization options that can enhance collective security and contribute to a more stable foundation for regional peace.
If the new inter-Korean military agreement signed by the leaders of North and South Korea is implemented, the chances of miscalculation or accident escalating to war will subside. However, there a serious challenge to bolster progress towards stable peace on the peninsula.
Further mitigating the risk of a local incident escalating out of control should continue to be a high priority for North and South Korea as well as for the United States.
The United States military has contributed to the maintenance of peace and security in the Republic of Korea for more than 67 years. Its commitment during this long period have shown their ability to respond to the changing and complex threats of Northeast Asia.