South Korea’s Investment in the U.S.-ROK Alliance: A Case Study of the New Southern Policy

Jae Jeok Park, Er win Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay argues that South Korea’s deliberate efforts to find nexuses between its New Southern Policy (NSP) and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy is an investment in insurance for the U.S.-ROK alliance. main argument South Korea has been exploring connections between its NSP and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy at the request of, if not pressure from, the U.S. South Korea has expanded the NSP’s scope to include nontraditional security and target areas in the South Pacific. This policy choice is, in part, an investment in insurance for the U.S.-ROK alliance to bolster the partnership and ensure a U.S. security commitment to the Korean Peninsula. Were South Korea not to accommodate the U.S. strategy, Washington might reduce its commitment to the alliance in response. However, adjusting to some elements of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy also gives South Korea leeway to engage more with China without causing the perception that it is strategically tilting toward China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-122
Number of pages22
JournalAsia Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
note: The authors would like to thank Hoo Tiang Boon, Sarah Teo, an anonymous reviewer for Asia Policy, and the participants of the workshop “Middle Powers amidst U.S.-China Rivalry,” which was held by S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University on March 31, 2021, for their valuable comments and suggestions. This essay was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2020S1A6A3A04064633) and the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Research Fund of 2022.

Publisher Copyright:
© The National Bureau of Asian Research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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