The Debate

Talking South Korea

U.S. relations are often overshadowed by North Korea. But there’s plenty else to Washington’s ties with Seoul.

Despite the importance of the U.S.-South Korea relationship, it’s often overshadowed here by other bilateral arrangements. And, when the spotlight does shine on this relationship, it’s frequently because of the military threat posed by North Korea.

It’s with this (fair) reasoning in mind that the Brookings Institution, the Korea Foundation and East Asia Institute are hosting their fourth seminar looking at U.S.-South Korea ties. I’ve been invited as a fellow to attend the conference, which is taking place just outside Washington DC this weekend.

The event is aimed at increasing awareness of the Korean Peninsula and what the organizers describe as the “crucial bilateral relationship.” Participants will be discussing the challenges facing the relationship and areas in which the two sides can collaborate, as well as trying to start developing proposals for pushing the relationship forward.

There’s a full program of events, with participants drawn from media, academia and government. Among the topics we’ll be discussing are bilateral trade relations, the future of the alliance system, the rise of China and also climate change.

I’ll be posting from the event over the weekend, and hope to sit down with a few of the guests for a couple of Q&A sessions on the issues we’ll be discussing.