Unpacking ‘Peace through strength’
By Ramon Pacheco Pardo
‘Peace through strength’ is a key driver behind President Moon Jae-in’s security and defence policy. It has two components. The national security component refers to the Republic of Korea Armed Forces achieving strategic autonomy and Seoul strengthening national military sovereignty. This does not imply termination of the South Korea-United States alliance, but it does mean Seoul taking increasing responsibility to protect itself. The foreign policy component refers to reducing reliance on the South Korea-United States alliance and boosting deterrence of North Korea and China. This is meant to reflect a change in the geostrategic landscape from a South Korean perspective. Changes include an ongoing ‘fear of abandonment’ by the United States, unresolved problematic relations with North Korea, and China’s growing assertiveness.