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SOUTH KOREAN APPROACHES TO PEACEKEEPING AND PEACEBUILDING: LESSONS LEARNED AND CHALLENGES AHEAD

Authors
홍규덕
Issue Date
Jun-2009
Publisher
국가안보전략연구소
Citation
The Journal of East Asian Affairs, v.23, no.1, pp.23 - 45
Journal Title
The Journal of East Asian Affairs
Volume
23
Number
1
Start Page
23
End Page
45
URI
https://scholarworks.sookmyung.ac.kr/handle/2020.sw.sookmyung/17627
ISSN
1010-1608
Abstract
This study introduces South Korea's invaluable experiences of civil-military operations (CMO) carried out in Iraq and Lebanon. South Koreans have approached the concept of CMO with extreme caution since they are viewing it from two different perspectives: namely the "paying back syndrome" from the country's Korean War experiences is colliding with the "Vietnam syndrome" from the experiences of the Vietnam War. Expanding its regional role through revitalizing peacekeeping operations (PKOs) is not an easy job for the ROK government despite President Lee having committed himself to increasing his government' s PKO efforts since his campaign days. South Korea recently decided to send its KDX-II type destroyer to Somalia to join the ongoing maritime peacekeeping operations while people in Korea strongly suspect that the Obama administration will soon request their country to send its troops to Afghanistan as a part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). As Korean society is getting more democratic, progressive NGOs have been opposing the government's decision to send forces to assist the U.S. war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It remains to be seen how President Lee will persuade the people to bear this burden and endure sacrifices. At least four problems need to be addressed for South Korea to become a major troop contributing country (TCC): First, the country needs to enact laws to deal with its participation in the UN PKOs and other peace operations. Second, it needs to find a way to include civilian experts in the future activities of peace operations including UN PKOs. Third, it needs to increase the budget for and size of standby forces. Lastly, it needs to educate people to understand why South Korea has to contribute further to make a safer world. It remains to be seen whether the country will continue to focus on only its present stabilization and reconstruction efforts without sending combat troops overseas.
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