JoongAng-CSIS forum focuses on alliance

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JoongAng-CSIS forum focuses on alliance

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Hong Seok-hyun, left in foreground, chairman of the JoongAng Media Network, and John Hamre, right, president of CSIS, pay a courtesy call to President Lee Myung-bak, center, yesterday at the Blue House. [Joint Press Corps]


Maintaining a strong alliance between South Korea and the United States was the focus of the first JoongAng Ilbo-CSIS Annual Forum held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul yesterday.

Experts from the U.S-based Center for Strategic and International Studies participated in the discussions, which were attended by roughly 130 people.

“We have been set in a situation where we must find a solution to a cubic equation, or even a quartic equation, that involves the South Korea-U.S. alliance, the balance of South Korea-China relations, the North Korea-China alliance and the improvement of relations between the U.S. and North Korea,” said Hong Seok-hyun, chairman of the JoongAng Ilbo, yesterday. “And so we must find a peaceful solution regarding the problems on the Korean Peninsula where we can all coexist and win.”

John Hamre, president of CSIS, said talks to arrange the forum started last year around the time of North Korea’s sinking of the Cheonan.

“We will probably have some difficult days now and then,” Hamre said, “but it’s time for us to start thinking about after the unification of Korea.”

Yesterday’s event was divided into four sessions during which the significance of the South Korea-U.S. alliance in Asia and in the world, North Korea, and the future of multilateralism in Asia were discussed. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-hwan and former Minister of National Defense Kim Tae-young were also present at the conference.

Discussions during the first part of the forum were centered on a comment by Chang Dal-joong, professor at Seoul National University, on a major decision South Korea may have to face in the future.

“It is true that the public sentiment is currently divided as to whether we should team up with the U.S. or China,” said Chang, “although this is something that could receive criticism.”

The comment prompted Michael Green, senior adviser and Japan chair for CSIS, to say that choosing sides before has resulted in “tragedy.”

“Absolute consistency with the U.S. alliance is better,” Green said.

James Jones, former U.S. national security adviser, said he was “struck by the comment that South Korea has to choose” sides and said the U.S. believes that such a decision would be “unnecessary.”

“The Chinese would like Koreans to view China as a zero-sum choice,” said Victor Cha, a professor at Georgetown University in Washington and former director for Asian affairs on the White House’s National Security Council. “I also don’t think for Koreans this is a zero-sum choice.”

Cha added that alliances with other countries “dissipate after the existing threat ends,” but the alliance between the U.S. and South Korea would go beyond that, even after the unification of the Korean Peninsula.

Another issue raised yesterday was the rise of China, which Richard Armitage, former U.S. deputy secretary of state under President George W. Bush, said would be “messy.”

“China has embarked on a significant financial expansion,” Armitage said, “but until she can stand for something larger than herself, she can’t truly be great on the global stage.”

Other CSIS participants emphasized that the U.S. and South Korea would have to combine their efforts to control the situation regarding North Korea and China.

Other speakers and participants included Kathleen Stephens, U.S. ambassador to South Korea; Kim Young-hie, editor at large of the JoongAng Ilbo; Han Sung-joo, former foreign minister of South Korea; and Jang Sung-min, former member of the National Assembly.

Chairman Hong and other participants of the forum yesterday visited the Blue House and met with President Lee Myung-bak. Lee’s security officials joined the discussion.

Hamre of CSIS expressed his hope that the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement would be ratified by June.

Lee congratulated the groups on the successful forum.


By Christine Kim, Ser Myo-ja [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [연합]
“한국, 한·미 동맹 속 베이징과도 친해져야”
중앙일보 - CSIS 포럼 개막

중앙일보와 미국 전략국제문제연구소(CSIS)는 29일 서울 하얏트호텔에서 ‘제1회 중앙일보-CSIS 연례포럼’을 열고 한·미 동맹의 바람직한 방향, 미국의 상대적 쇠퇴와 중국의 부상에 따른 한·미 대응, 북핵 해법 등을 공동 모색했다.

 홍석현 중앙일보 회장은 개회사에서 “한·미 동맹과 한·중 관계, 북·미 관계, 북·중 동맹이 공존하고 윈-윈(Win-Win)할 수 있는 방향에서 한반도 문제의 평화적 해법을 찾아내야 한다”고 주문했다. 다음은 미국 측 참석자의 발언 요지.

 ▶마이클 그린(Michael Green) 전 백악관 아태 선임보좌관(현 CSIS 일본실장)=한국은 미국에 예전보다 네 배나 중요해졌다. 아시아의 민주화 모델이고 국제 거버넌스(Governance) 확립과 핵확산 방지에도 중요한 역할을 한다. 한국은 한·미 동맹의 일관성을 유지하면서 베이징과의 관계도 지속적으로 강화해야 한다. 한·미 동맹 강화와 한·중 관계 개선은 서로 배척되는 게 아니다. 서로 보완적인 개념이다. 이것이 워싱턴의 관점이다.

▶제임스 존스(James Jones) 전 백악관 국가안보보좌관=21세기에 우리가 직면한 위협은 비대칭적인 위협이다. 국가·국제조직이 반응 속도를 훨씬 높여야 하며 정부가 투명해야 이런 위협을 해소할 수 있다. 한·미 동맹은 세계에서 유례를 찾기 힘든 든든한 관계이며 계속해 전 세계적으로 영향을 미칠 것이다. 한국은(미국과 중국의) 둘 중 하나를 선택하는 게 아니라 공존·조화를 시키는 것이 중요하다.

▶빅터 차(Victor Cha) 전 백악관 아시아 담당국장(현 CSIS 한국실장)=미국인의 80% 이상이 한·미 동맹은 통일 후에도 계속돼야 할 장기적인 관계로 여긴다. 한국과의 동맹은 일본·아프가니스탄 등보다 더 오래가야 한다고 본다. 미국은 한국이 미·중 사이에서 ‘제로섬 게임’을 해야 한다고 보지 않는다. 그러나 중국은 한국에 중국만 택하라고 하고 있다.

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