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The Case of South Korea

With the establishment under Kennedy of USAID, an organization designed to implement and assess foreign aid to countries such as South Korea, the shift in policy emphasized social reforms that would democratize institutions, land policy, tax reform, and social progress.

A critical element in American policy toward the ROK has been the assumption on the part of the U.S. of much of the country's defense burden (Lee & Heo, 2001). In the beginning of the alliance period between the two nations, South Korea maintained a relatively low defense budget. In the 1960s, this amounted to no more than 4 percent of ROK gross national product (GNP). U.S. military aid to the country, including both direct and indirect assistance, was more than the South Korean defense budget in the 1960s. Later, in the 1970s, American policy shifts caused the ROK to substantially increase its spending on defense. In 1969, the ROK agreed with President Jimmy Carter to raise its defense burden to 6 percent of GNP in return for cancellation of Carter's plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country. Since the late 1980s, however, South Korea has decreased its defense spending in parallel to the United States (Lee & Heo, 2001).

Over the entire period from the end of the Korean War to the present, the U.S. has maintained a formal security treaty relationship with the country. However, as Olsen (2000) noted, the U.S. has maintained in recent decades that it may contemplate the possibility of changing its stance on the sovereignty issue û the notion that only the ROK is a 'legitimate' sovereign state û by extending full diplomatic recognition to North Korea. This would occur, according to Olsen (2000), only in the vent that North Korea conforms to U.S> definitions of international norms.

Eberstadt (2002) noted that over the last half-century, East Asia has been a virtual kaleidoscope of political and economic change, with the security face-ff in Korea...

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The Case of South Korea. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:36, August 17, 2017, from
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