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The East Asian region is in flux with the rapidly increasing rise of Chinese power and the perception of a relative decline of US influence. For US treaty allies in the region, the challenges to its regional dominance by a rising China have posed dilemmas but also opportunities. No country better exemplifies this contrast than South Korea, which as a middle power finds itself in a precarious position in the regional hierarchy. In recent years. South Korea has responded with new approaches to foreign and security strategies, which are the product of several factors: the challenges wrought by China’s growth, US attempts to meet this challenge with a rebalance toward the region, and South Korea’s evolving perceptions of national security. My discussion concludes that while external factors have shaped South Korea’s security transformation, internal factors have been just as important drivers of South Korea’s foreign policy.