Korea’s national security triad put to test

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Most Korean people believed and hoped that Donald Trump would not be elected US president. 

This was not so much because they were misled by US media reports as because they believed that if he became president, he would demand full payment of the cost of stationing US troops in Korea and withdraw them if he did not get what he wanted. 

This kind of mendicant mentality is ironical and very dangerous for Korean national security. 

In this sense, Koreans suffer from a dualistic mentality. They believe that South Korea’s military forces are far superior to North Korea’s in conventional arms because it is economically and technologically far superior to the other. 

The only problem is North Korea’s nuclear weaponry. To make it worse, some Koreans are anti-American, believing that the US is imperialistic and uses South Korea as a military base in the Far East to contain or encircle potential enemies such as China and Russia. 

Because of this belief, they tend to favor China over the US. But the fault lies with Korea rather than the US. A state which depends on a foreign power militarily is not a true independent state.

If a country is confronted with a great power, it has two choices. One way is to subordinate itself to that neighboring power. Korea had historically maintained a tributary status in relations with China until it lost its independence to Japan. Another way is to maintain an alliance with another great power. 

Since South Korea regained independence from Japan, it has maintained an alliance relationship with the US in order to protect itself from not only North Korea but also the other communist neighbors.