Divided America, Divided Korea: US-Korean Relations after the Trump Years

Divided America, Divided Korea: US-Korean Relations after the Trump Years

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During the 2016 election, Donald Trump made clear his contempt for the state of American foreign policy, with the Korean Peninsula coming in for particular criticism. After his election, Trump pledged to employ new approaches to bring DPRK belligerency under control, including a willingness to meet President Kim Jong Un for face to face talks and a re-start of negotiations, while also suggesting an increased willingness to use force if necessary. South Korean policy came in for criticism as well, as Trump repeatedly castigated this traditional ally for not contributing enough to the alliance and for taking advantage of American generosity. Here, too, he followednew paths, ones that quickly sparked diplomatic turbulence over issues like trade agreements, the costs of the American military deployment, the transfer of wartime operational control, the drawdown and even cancellation of some joint military exercises, and the costs of the THAAD missile system. Considering the importance of both Koreas––and of East Asia as a whole––to American foreign relations and world stability, it is imperative that scholars evaluate the Trump administration’s policies and their long-term impact. In order to do so, this proposal calls for holding a workshop (via zoom) in the spring semester of 2021, which will bring together some of the world’s leading authorities on US-Korean relations for a day of presentations and discussions, with an edited volume, likely to be published by the University of Kentucky Press, to follow.


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