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Global Insights: U.S.-South Korea Alliance Faces Growing Pains

Richard Weitz

The South Korean and U.S. militaries have begun their annual major field training exercise, “Foal Eagle,” which will last until April 18. It includes the largest amphibious drill in Korea in decades, a 12-day operation code-named Ssan Yong, or “Twin Dragons,” that will involve some 15,000 South Korean and 10,000 U.S. soldiers.

South Korean military personnel approvingly told the media that the Ssan Yong amphibious landings underscore their country’s strategic significance to the Obama administration’s Asia rebalancing policy. Beneath the surface calm, however, many troubled currents will buffet both the amphibious exercise and the overall bilateral military relationship. …

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