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Changes in Korean-US Relationship during the Vietnam War

Park, TaeGyun 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

There are few works on the Korean-US relationship in 1964-1973 when the ROK combat troops participated in the Vietnam War (1964-1975). Since it was a very critical turning point in the US foreign policy, a new approach to the whole period is needed in order to examine the relationship precisely. The participation of the ROK troops in the Vietnam was a very crucial moment to improve the relationship between the ROK and the US, because the ROK government accepted American government's request for the first time, which was a key to the US foreign policy in general, and not directly related to the Korean issue at that time. In fact, the Johnson administration provided special economic and military assistance to Korea through the Brown Memorandum in return. However, a serious gap between the two countries was emerging due to the security crisis on the Korean Peninsula since 1966. As North Korean regime started to have a very aggressive strategy against South Korea in order to help North Vietnam, the ROK government considered a very active retaliation in order to boost ROK soldiers' morale, while American government had a different position on this. The Johnson administration did not want escalation of the crisis into another general war in Asia and wanted to concentrate on the frontline in Vietnam. The Nixon Doctrine played a role as the final break of a honeymoon relationship between the ROK and the US, in the end. President Park himself as well as the ROK government officials were shocked at the downsize of the US forces in South Korea without prior consultation with the ROK government, which has been conducted by President Johnson in 1966. Even though the conflict was weakened during the Ford Administration, the relationship had been worsening during the Carter Administration. The relationship between the ROK and the US had a serious transition during the Vietnam War and the legacy was continued until the end of the 1970s.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.