A Candle in the Wind: Korean Perceptions of ROK-U.S. Security Relations

Woosang Kim, Tae hyo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


South Korea's domestic public opinion has become a powerful factor in the foreign policy-making process, but it should be appropriately guided and set, when necessary, according to the government's "correct" reading of the international environment and by formulating "best" policy options available to the country. The authors used survey analyses to identify the differences in opinions on security-related issues among an elite group and college students. The authors tested whether Korean public opinion regarding security issues can easily be changed through informative public education and in-depth discussions. Based on these findings, this paper stresses the importance of informing the public and the necessity of increasing security communication efforts. As long as elite groups in both countries see the national interest as requiring maintenance of the ROK-U.S. alliance, they should make efforts to provide proper information about the role of the alliance and let citizens understand its importance through proper deliberations and public education. Given that the U.S. Forces in Korea may gradually be adjusted to reflect the changing security environment in Northeast Asia and that there remains a salient rationale for Korea-U.S. security cooperation given neighboring great powers, the ongoing Korea-U.S. alliance will certainly remain a win-win strategic option for both countries. How and in what capacity the two allies will coordinate on the North Korean nuclear crisis will be the critical litmus test that will reveal the future direction of the ROK-U.S. alliance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-118+ii
JournalKorean Journal of Defense Analysis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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