Asia Foundation Launches New Center to Promote Deeper U.S.-Korea Relationship; Set Agenda for Policy Discussions

Washington, D.C., February 5, 2009 — Against the backdrop of the new administration’s position that “smart power” will require the U.S. to “bolster old alliances and forge new ones” with nations such as South Korea, The Asia Foundation today launched a new institute to promote a broader U.S.-Korea relationship. The goal of the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy is to expand cooperation between the U.S. and Korea by challenging policymakers in both nations to consider the opportunities and potential scope of a broader, deeper, and more robust relationship. Scott Snyder, a preeminent U.S.-Korea relations scholar and frequent commentator on Asian security issues, including the Korean peninsula, is founder and director. Snyder is the former Asia Foundation country representative to Korea and is author of the newly-published China’s Rise and the Two Koreas, an examination of the implications of China’s rise on the two Koreas and their relationship with the U.S., and Negotiating on the Edge: North Korean Negotiating Behavior. Council on Foreign Relations recently named Snyder adjunct senior fellow for Korea Studies.

“South Korea has developed the economic, political, and security resources to be a first-tier partner on the international stage,” said Snyder, discussing the Center’s purpose. “Strengthened forms of cooperation with like-minded allies in the Asia-Pacific are likely to be at a premium as the center of gravity for global economic and political interactions shifts toward Asia.”

The Center will conduct joint policy projects that identify and promote specific issues and forms of cooperation, as well as serve as a resource for enhanced communication with policymakers in Seoul and Washington. Programs will address security, nuclear energy development, climate change, and the role and influence of the U.S.-ROK alliance on Northeast Asian relations.

On February 17, the Center will conduct its first official activity, “Pursuing a Comprehensive Vision for a U.S.-ROK Alliance,” a high-level conference sponsored with The Asia Foundation’s Korea office that will bring together American and Korean experts in Seoul to discuss strengthening U.S. and Korea cooperation, in light of the new U.S. administration and the agenda forged by the U.S.-ROK strategic alliance in April 2008.

Snyder speaks Korean and is a senior associate in the international relations program at The Asia Foundation. He holds the same title at Pacific Forum, the Asia-Pacific arm of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was most recently a Pantech Fellow at Stanford University’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. He holds an M.A. from the Regional Studies East Asia Program at Harvard University, and a B.A. from Rice University. Snyder was a recipient of a Thomas G. Watson Fellowship and attended Yonsei University in South Korea.

About The Center for U.S.-Korea Policy The Center for U.S.-Korea Policy aims to deepen the foundations for institutionalized cooperation between the United States and South Korea by promoting bilateral policy coordination. Based in The Asia Foundation’s Washington D.C. office, and with seed funding from the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Center supports The Foundation’s commitment to the development of the Asia Pacific by leading a comprehensive U.S.-ROK alliance partnership on emerging global, regional, and non-traditional security challenges. The new Center will work closely with the Foundation’s office in Korea to enhance bilateral participation and impact. About The Asia Foundation The Asia Foundation is a non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to the development of a peaceful, prosperous, just, and open Asia-Pacific region. The Foundation supports programs in Asia that help improve governance, law, and civil society; women’s empowerment; economic reform and development; and international relations. Drawing on more than 50 years of experience in Asia, the Foundation collaborates with private and public partners to support leadership and institutional development, exchanges, and policy research.

In Korea, The Asia Foundation works in partnership with local organizations to address the challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities arising from Korea’s emergence as an important economic and diplomatic actor in the Asia-Pacific Region. Programs focus on Korea’s relations with the United States and its Asian neighbors, Korea’s expanding role as an aid donor for less-developed countries in Asia, and promoting peaceful resolution of tensions arising from the division of the Korean peninsula.

With offices throughout Asia, an office in Washington, D.C., and its headquarters in San Francisco, the Foundation addresses these issues on both a country and regional level. In 2008, the Foundation provided more than $87 million in program support and distributed over one million books and educational materials valued at $41 million throughout Asia. For more information, please visit the Press Room.

Related locations: Korea, Washington DC
Related programs: International Cooperation
Related topics: Center for U.S.-Korea Policy

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