This paper has two purposes. First one is to compare the concept of the Park Administration's defense diplomacy with the concept of the defense diplomacy in the post-Cold War era. Second one is to analyse and evaluate the strategy and results of the Park Chung Hee Administration's defense diplomacy. As the importance of defense diplomacy increased in the post-Cold War era, the Republic of Korea(ROK) decided to officially use “defense diplomacy" instead of “military diplomacy" in the Defense White Paper 2008. However, it was not the first time that the ROK used it in the Defense White Paper. Park Chung Hee Administration already used “defense diplomacy" in the Defense White Paper 1968.
The conclusion is that the Park Administration considered defense diplomacy as one of means to pursue national security aim under the unstable security environment in the late 1960s. In addition, the Park Administration established the foundation for defense diplomacy by focusing on military relations, military assistances and defense industries, and international conflicts management. The administration also could achieved substantial results such as the institutionalization of the ROK-US Combined Defense System, the US Military Assistance, the ROK Military Modernization, the ROK-US Combined Military Exercises, International Support, and so on.
In the late 1960s, the Park administration recognized that changes were in the air in the security environment around the Korea Peninsular. First, on July 26, 1969, President Nixon released a statement on Guam which became known as the Nixon Doctrine. The President states that future US policy in Asia would seek to avoid military intervention and initiated the first US Forces withdrawal. Second, military threats from the North Korea (NK) increased as the NK made consecutive military provocations and built up it's military power. The ROK had to increase military power against growing the NK threats, but it did not have enough international aids as well as national power. Considering all these situations, the Park had no other way than to strategically made the best use of the given situations and means. Defense Diplomacy was one of the strategic means to overcome this unstable security environment.
The Park administration's defense diplomacy could be analyzed by the three strategic characteristics of defense diplomacy in the post-Cold War era. First, it focused on achieving national security aims such as anticommunism and development. The aims of defense diplomacy were establishing anticommunism network, building up self-defense capability, active defense diplomacy. All part of the administration such as president, prime minister, ministry of defense and so on cooperated to make use of the given situation and means to achieve the three aims.
Second, it contributed to improve security situation and the ROK international status by carrying out various non-violent military activities during peace time. As a result, the Park Administration could institutionalize the ROK-US Military Alliance. For instance, after the NK provocations in 1968, the ROK-US Annual Defense Meeting was held. Following the fourth meeting in 1971, the title was changed to the “ROK-US Security Consultative Meeting(SCM)" and evolved into a Multi-dimensional Security Meeting. At the tenth SCM, two sides agreed upon establishing the ROK-US Combined Forces Command(CFC). In addition, the US reaffirmed its commitment to the security of the ROK by providing military assistance and helping the ROK's Force Modernization Plan(1971~1975).
Third, it tried to broaden bilateral and multilateral relationships to supplement the ROK military power against the NK threats. For example, the Park administration tried to reaffirmed security commitment from the 16 UN Allies which participated in Korean War. Furthermore, the ROK Armed Forces in Vietnam War conducted not only military operations not also civil-military operations such as building 172 bridges, paving 35,535 km road, and so on. All these activities and results contributed to implement national security aims as well as defense diplomacy aims.
Despite these achievements, the Park administration's defense diplomacy had limits to sufficiently accomplish the aims. First, compared with the ROK-US relationship, defense diplomacy with other bilateral and multilateral relations did not have many achievement. Second, some of the achievements on the ROK-US relations also had some limitations. For instance, the US fulfilled only 45% in 1972 and 54% in 1973 of its aid commitment on the ROK's Force Modernization Plan.
However, considering the given situations such as weak the ROK national power, increasing the NK threats, and Nixon doctrine, the Park Administration did not have many strategic alternatives. In 2010, the ROK again faces military tensions on Korea Peninsular. The Park Administration's active defense diplomacy provides couple of implication today.
First, the government has to set clear and detailed security aims and strategy to change current unstable security environment into favorable condition to the ROK. Second, the ROK should put wisdom together to make the best use of the given situation such as different positions on the NK provocations among neighbor countries. Third, the government needs to carry out active defense diplomacy based on understanding our strategic characteristics such as national power, geopolitical position, changing security environment.