New Leaders Face Same Problems in Korea

The relationship between South Korea and the US has endured a decade of strained relations and may be heading into a period of upheaval, according to William Drennan, an expert on Korean Peninsula security issues. The US military presence in South Korea has become both a lightening rod for anti-American sentiment and a crutch that allows the South to gamble with its security, asserted Drennan, speaking Sept. 16 at AFA’s Air & Space Conference. Possible future upheaval has to do with leadership, as the heads of the three nations most responsible for its security change over. A conservative President took power in South Korea six months ago, ending a decade of liberal leadership that pushed a “sunshine policy” of improved relations with the corrupt North Korean dictatorship. In four months, the US will have a new President. And perhaps most significantly, there are credible reports that North Korea’s “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il was incapacitated by a stroke in mid August. There is no known succession plan in the nuclear-armed North. The leaders may be changing, but the myriad security problems on the Korean Peninsula will likely remain the same.