1. Following the end of the Cold War — and with the change of the US global security strategy — Taiwan was no longer the metaphorical “Unsinkable aircraft carrier,” a term coined by General McArthur in 1950. Consequently, the US established formal diplomatic relations with the People Republic of China and replaced the previous security treaty with the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979. The 1979 Act provided sufficient ambiguity for the US government to decide when and how they would defend Taiwan’s security. Taiwan, therefore, became a strategic “option,” instead of a necessary “must” in the American grand strategy in the post-Cold War Asia-Pacific region.
2. @John Fedup
, both of you have dismissed South Korea’s imperatives for national Security and launched into a hypothetical Taiwan scenario that is not remotely realistic — US allies like Korea, Thailand and the Philippines have no interest in defending Taiwan, as it is a Taiwanese responsibility.
(i) President George W. Bush’s statement in April 2001 that Washington would do “whatever it took” to defend Taiwan was quickly extinguished by the foreign policy establishment and never repeated. Instead, both Taipei and Beijing are left with Washington’s “strategic ambiguity” as most succinctly articulated in the Clinton administration: We might or might not come to Taiwan’s defence, “depending on the circumstances.” IMHO, it is stupid for any American President to assume such responsibility — which is why the official State Department position remains as that of ‘strategic ambiguity’.
(ii) American opponents of strategic clarity argue that Taiwan matters more to China than it does to the United States. The Americans should not risk World War III over it. Thus, the task of American leaders is to convince Chinese civilian and military hardliners that the costs and risks of conflict with the U.S. would be catastrophic for China, destroying all they have spent 70 years building up.
3. With this as a background, we can better understand the April 2018, Panmunjeom Declaration. Back in 2018, the two Koreas agreed to work together to reduce sharp military tensions, avoid war, and try to build an enduring peace regime.
4. The ongoing North Korea-US stalemate has literally hijacked South Korean geopolitical concerns expressed in the Panmunjeom Declaration. Currently, South Korea does not have a choice but to join the possible unnecessary war once initiated either by Pyongyang or Washington D. C. This hypothetical war will be a nuclear one and will most certainly cost millions of Korean lives. South Korea has already established economic interdependence with China. These economic entanglements have ultimately made the US-South Korea security relations even more complicated.
5. During the Trump administration, a cloud has been hovering over an alliance “blood forged” during the Korean War and formalized after hostilities ceased in 1953. Trump’s policy position has been that US allies have enjoyed a free ride at America’s expense. In 2019, the US tried to raise the annual cost-sharing burden to be paid by Seoul for its hosting of GIs from just under Special Measures Agreement for the upkeep of 28,500 American troops stationed on the peninsula — from US$870 million in 2019 to about US$5 billion in 2020
. Further, both of you show no awareness that any war on the Korean peninsula can result in a nuclear exchange that kills millions of South Koreans. In Oct 2020, South Korea’s imperatives for national Security still involves avoiding a nuclear war with the North and keeping China, as North Korea’s largest aid provider, appeased.
6. Choosing not to side with Taiwan, given Trump’s transactional view of all alliances is a no brainer for the South Koreans.
7. Without effort in basic research, you will get more rubbish-in, rubbish-out posts. May I suggest that you rethink your approach when writing about Korea.