To Double Down or Decouple? North Korea and China as Challenges to the U.S.-South Korea Alliance

Jangho Kim, Daewon Ohn, Jae Jeok Park, Mason Richey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article argues that both North Korea's nuclear weapons and Chinese attempts at wedge-driving between South Korea and the United States represent threats to degrade and perhaps decouple the U.S.-South Korea alliance. These will intensify regardless of the outcome of current diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula. This puts at risk a component of the San Francisco System that has served as a pillar for Northeast Asian regional security for almost seven decades. We assess what the potential problems will be for the U.S.-South Korea alliance as they emanate from these two policy challenges, and what actions policymakers in both Washington and Seoul can prioritize in order to modify or neutralize them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-56
Number of pages17
JournalAsian Politics and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Korea Foundation/Global Networking Department Grant‐270, the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant (NRF‐2016S1A2A2911284) funded by the Korean government, and by the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Research Fund of 2019–20. Research by Dr Jangho Kim was additionally supported by the Global Research Network program through the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea, and the National Research Foundation of Korea (Project Number: NRF‐2016S1A2A2912646).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Policy Studies Organization

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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