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About the Asan Washington Forum

The Asan Washington Forum is a gathering of leading figures in Korean, American, and East Asian public affairs for a two-day, multi-session conference in Washington, DC. Organized by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, the Forum seeks to inform the policymaking discourse in the United States by bringing fresh insights to some of the most pressing challenges confronting the ROK-US alliance in the twenty-first century.

“The Enduring Alliance: Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of ROK-US Relations”

The Republic of Korea and the United States of America share a remarkable history forged over decades of shared struggles and triumphs. In May, President Park Geun-hye chose to make her first official overseas trip to the United States, reaffirming her commitment to the alliance and its continued importance. Bilateral cooperation continues to deepen across a range of fields, with a raft of new agreements promising to unlock untapped economic and social potential. As America looks to Asia as the future of the global order, the ROK-US alliance will remain a linchpin of peace and security.

But no future is secure. North Korea’s belligerent behavior, China’s growing ambitions, Japan’s rightward shift, and a resurgent Russia all have the potential to destabilize the region. But threats to the alliance can also come from within. A disengaged America, tired by a decade of war, economic crisis, and domestic concerns, weakens the alliance. An introverted Korea, unwilling to share the burden of leadership or the cost of defense, also makes for a weak ally.

As the ROK-US alliance enters uncharted territory, this year’s forum will reflect on how Korean and American policymakers overcame the hurdles of the past and what they should do to prepare for the challenges of the future. It will ask how we can ensure peace and prosperity for this generation and those to come.