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  • 작성자 사진Kim Ji-yeon

[Feature] 70 Years of Alliance: United by Korean War, Bound by Friendship

No.164 / Jun 12, 2023

70 years ago, an extraordinary bond took root between the United States (U.S.) and the Republic of Korea (ROK). While alliances fundamentally serve as contracts between nations, promising aid, and protection against various threats, the ROK–U.S. alliance transcends conventional definitions.

The roots of the ROK–U.S. alliance trace back to the Mutual Defense Treaty of November 18, 1953, established in the aftermath of the Korean War. Upon North Korea’s invasion on June 25, 1950, the U.S. was the first to step in to aid the South, dispatching approximately 1.8 million troops—the most significant contribution among the 22 participating countries. This support has led to the alliance often being referred to as a bond formed in blood, underlining the shared sacrifices and struggles during the war. As the years passed, the alliance matured and broadened, extending into the realm of economic cooperation. Despite occasional challenges, such as a surge in anti-American sentiment following a tragic incident in 2002 and controversy over the 2007 Free Trade Agreement (FTA), both nations have emerged as resilient partners, bound by shared values and common objectives. A significant landmark was reached in 2022 when President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed to elevate this bilateral alliance to a “global comprehensive strategic alliance”. This development underscored the shared ambition not only to strengthen the bilateral bond, but also to leverage this relationship to contribute toward global stability and cooperation. The 2023 summit was a testament to this enduring alliance, where significant achievements were made, marking it as the most prominent state visit since the French President Macron’s visit to the U.S. President Yoon Suk-yeol’s speech at the U.S. Congress was met with enthusiastic applause a remarkable 56 times, including 23 standing ovations. This unprecedented response surpassed the applause received by his predecessors, further indicating the resounding success and impact of his address. For comparison, former presidents Lee Myung-bak, Park Geun-hye, Rhee Syng-man, Kim Young-sam, Roh Tae-woo, and Kim Dae-jung received standing ovations 45, 40, 33, 20, 14, and 20 times, respectively. The heightened level of engagement during President Yoon Suk-yeol’s speech is a proof to the deep-seated respect and admiration for the ROK–U.S. alliance, as well as the strength of the ties between the two nations. The abundant applause further highlights the warm reception of his messages and the success of his strategic approach towards fostering stronger international relations.

Looking forward, the ROK–U.S. alliance, rooted in shared values of freedom, democracy, and human rights, promises a vibrant future filled with opportunities. The bond forged between our nations over the past 70 years is poised to continue for seven decades and beyond, opening endless opportunities for future generations. As President Yoon Suk-yeol envisioned, both nations will continue to act as the “compass of freedom”, tirelessly guiding the path to safeguard and broaden the freedom of citizens of the world. This symbol serves as a beacon, providing direction and assurance amidst the challenges we might face. Together, the ROK and the U.S. navigate towards a horizon of enduring peace and shared prosperity.


By Kim Ji-yeon, AG Reporter

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