The choice of Ban Ki-moon should have been good news. South Korea and the United States are formal treaty allies. We have about 30,000 troops in South Korea, who train alongside the South’s army, and a headquarters meant to take operational control of all of them in the event of a crisis….
Yet the author, Mario Loyola, thinks that South Korea is fully capable of self-defense. He thinks Roh and Ban really see the alliance as more of a means to the contain the United States, and I have to admit that this makes a great deal of sense to me.
[N]othing can hide South Korea’s increasing tendency to align with China — and protect the North. When Japan announced that it would beef up its strike capabilities in response to North Korean nuclear provocations, Seoul blamed Japan for increasing tensions. And this policy is a good reflection of popular sentiment: A recent poll has 40 percent of South Koreans blaming the United States for the nuclear standoff, whereas only 30 percent blame the North. Similarly, when North Korea announced plans to detonate an underground nuclear device, Beijing condemned the decision, but that was apparently the first time that China has singled North Korea out for any sort of criticism since the start of the talks.
Loyola also discusses the contoversy over The American Enterprise’s North Korea edition (two, three), South Korea’s sudden termination of funding to AEI in the wake of that criticism, and China’s hard work to put its man Ban into Kofi Annan’s chair.