The United States and the ROKN
This chapter analyses the role of the United States in the modernisation of the ROKN. It shows that the ROKN has successfully transitioned from a force that was wholly dependent on the US, to one that is now indigenously constructing advanced platforms and weapon systems. Further, it demonstrates that although the US was initially reluctant to support ROKN blue-water modernisation it now supports and facilitates it, as a strong, interoperable ROKN is strategically beneficial for US operations around the Korean Peninsula and in the Asian region. This chapter is divided into four main parts, each of which describes a different period in the US–South Korea alliance relationship and its impact on the ROKN. It begins with the formative period of the ROKN, when South Korea was entirely reliant on the US for economic and military aid and the US did not embrace the concept of South Korean seapower. The second and third parts examine the period after 1968 when the alliance relationship began to change as South Korea took more responsibility for its own defence. The chapter concludes with an examination of the alliance and its impact on the ROKN after the Cold War.