Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that we have no idea what the impact will be on the alliance. The president-elect’s guiding principle has been to treat allies fairly but not allow them to unfairly take advantage of the United States. Based on these and other soundbites we have heard during the campaign, we can hazard some guesses.
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) - South Korea’s desire to join TPP is now a moot issue. Trump has stated clearly his opposition to the 12-nation agreement; moreover, there is a chance that his administration could re-evaluate KORUS, given the prevailing view during the campaign that these trade deals have hurt the American worker.
Operational Control Transfer (OPCON) -Trump’s guiding principle has been to put American interests first. In this regard, it is entirely plausible that a Trump presidency may seek to complete OPCON transfer and put these responsibilities in the hands of Koreans.
General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) - Given Trump’s desires to see allies carry a larger burden, it is possible that his administration would support a general intelligence-sharing agreement between its allies, Japan and Korea.
This is all guesswork at the moment, but until we hear more from the president-elect, we should be under no assumption that continuity will prevail.
Korea Chair Snapshot is a product by the CSIS Korea Chair providing key takeaways from breaking events of the day and is published by the Office of the Korea Chair (http://www.csis.org/ program/korea-chair) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images