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  • Author: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The new national security leaders in Japan, the United States, China and the two Koreas have assumed office at a precarious time. Despite the recent relaxation of tensions, conditions are ripe for further conflict in Northeast Asia. The new DPRK leadership is as determined as its predecessor to possess nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles while resisting unification or reconciliation with South Korea and its allies. The new government in Tokyo is also augmenting its military capabilities. Meanwhile, despite Chinese efforts to restart the Six-Party Talks, the Obama administration has refused to engage with the DPRK until it demonstrates a willingness to end its nuclear weapons program and improving intra-Korean ties. But this policy of patiently waiting for verifiable changes in DPRK policies may be too passive in the face of North Korea' s growing military capabilities, leading the new South Korean government, striving to maneuver between Beijing and Washington, to consider new initiatives to restart a dialogue with the North even while reinforcing its own military capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Captain Sukjoon Yoon
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Regional maritime security has clearly wanted improved structures and mechanisms since early 2010. In 2011 Dr. Sam Bateman published an article, "Solving the 'Wicked Problems' of Maritime Security: Are Regional Forums up to the Task?" identifying a number of intractable problems. Recently, Bateman's list has been overshadowed by a variety of new 'wicked problems' and all parties continue to dig the hole deeper. These new issues faced by the East Asian nations include: the impact of domestic politics upon maritime security, the difficulty of striking a balance between the US and China, the struggle for self-reliant defense through rearming, the dearth of alternative models for maritime cooperation, the blurring of operational roles between navies and coastguards, and the reluctance to turn to legal mechanisms of dispute resolution. In Bateman's original exposition, the 'wicked problems' were directly applicable to current maritime security, but denoted some negative outlook. This paper is hopeful that the nations of the region might be willing to put the past behind them, so that some of the mounting catalog of issues can be resolved. If effective solutions are ever to be found, then the nations in dispute will inevitably have to adopt a more flexible mindset and break out of the perilous and unproductive cycles of action and reaction. The key aim of this paper is to identify trust-building strategies through which the nations of the region can mitigate their quarrels and collaborate in solving the challenges of regional maritime security, including both old and new 'wicked problems'.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, China, East Asia
  • Author: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The end of President Barack Obama's first term provides an opportunity to assess what the administration's "strategic rebalancing" toward and within the Asia-Pacific region (sometimes called the "Asian Pivot" or "Back to Asia" policy) has accomplished as well as what challenges and unmet opportunities remain. The administration has launched several successful multinational diplomatic initiatives in the region to supplement U.S. bilateral ties with key Asian partners; relations with ASEAN have clearly improved. The economic dimension of the Pivot has made progress as seen by the growth of support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. U.S. efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Asia have proved far less successful, except perhaps for Myanmar, where the political transition remains a work in progress. The U.S. military has managed to establish a broader presence in the region, especially in Australia and Southeast Asia. U.S. officials have sought to impart new energy into the five existing formal U.S. bilateral defense alliances in Asia--with Australia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, and South Korea. But the main problem with the pivot has been the inability to overcome Chinese anxiety about U.S. rebalancing, which has complicated their cooperation over North Korea and other issues. Fortunately, relations between the United States and South Korea are also strong. The ROK is becoming an important U.S. partner in several dimensions of the Pivot, though ROK-U.S. differences over North Korea might emerge with the advent of a new government in Seoul.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, Australia, Thailand
  • Author: Hong Nack Kim
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of Kim Jong-Il's death in December 2011, China clearly wanted a more cooperative new North Korean regime which would help stabilize the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The Kim Jong-Il regime had been a political liability and economic burden to China, as it defied the international community by perpetrating numerous provocations and crises. In order to avert a major conflict on the Korean Peninsula, Beijing had to bail out the Kim Jong-Il regime by defusing the crises created by North Korea's saber-rattling behavior and brinkmanship. Clearly, China did not want to repeat or endure a similar relationship with the new North Korean regime under Kim Jong-Un. This article seeks to examine China's policy toward the Kim Jong-Un regime from December 2011 to the present. In spite of initial optimism, Beijing has been disappointed by the Kim Jong-Un regime's defiant actions, such as the two ballistic missile tests in 2012 and the third nuclear test in February 2013. These developments inevitably raise serious doubts about China's ability to rein in the belligerent Kim Jong-Un regime. It is a major contention of this paper that it will be difficult for China to "tame" the Kim regime unless China is willing to reset its diplomatic priorities from seeking to prevent the collapse of Kim's regime to halting North Korea's provocations that may ignite a major conflict on the Korean Peninsula. The surest way to achieve this change will be through the effective utilization of economic sanctions to enhance the efficacy of the diplomatic measures on which it has relied too long and too singlemindedly.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Korea, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Andrew Scobell
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: A paramount geostrategic goal for China is to deny any other great power direct access to Korea. If outright control of the Peninsula is unachievable, then the second best situation for China is a divided Korea, which at least prevents other powers from having full control of Korea and limits Korea's own power. Unless a unified Korea can be independent and neutral, China has no real interest in a unified and independent Korea. Thus, for the past sixty years or so a divided Korea has suited Beijing's purposes.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing, Korea, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Chang-Il Ohn
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The causes of the Korean War (1950-1953) can be examined in two categories, ideological and political. Ideologically, the communist side, including the Soviet Union, China, and North Korea, desired to secure the Korean peninsula and incorporate it in a communist bloc. Politically, the Soviet Union considered the Korean peninsula in the light of Poland in Eastern Europe—as a springboard to attack Russia—and asserted that the Korean government should be “loyal” to the Soviet Union. Because of this policy and strategic posture, the Soviet military government in North Korea (1945-48) rejected any idea of establishing one Korean government under the guidance of the United Nations. The two Korean governments, instead of one, were thus established, one in South Korea under the blessing of the United Nations and the other in the north under the direction of the Soviet Union. Observing this Soviet posture on the Korean peninsula, North Korean leader Kim Il-sung asked for Soviet support to arm North Korean forces and Stalin fully supported Kim and secured newly-born Communist China's support for the cause. Judging that it needed a buffer zone against the West and Soviet aid for nation building, the Chinese government readily accepted a role to aid North Korea, specifically, in case of full American intervention in the projected war. With full support from the Soviet Union and comradely assistance from China, Kim Il-sung attacked South Korea with forces that were better armed, equipped, and prepared than their counterparts in South Korea.
  • Political Geography: China, America, South Korea, North Korea, Poland, Soviet Union
  • Author: Steven M. Goldstein
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: A discussion of the evolution and present state of Chinese research concerning the origins of the Korean War, with particular emphasis on the impact of the strategic aims of Joseph Stalin on the options open to China in the spring of 1950.
  • Political Geography: China, Korea
  • Author: Mel Gurtov
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The wars in Korea and Vietnam were of a piece, directly related by virtue of U.S. global strategy and China's security concerns. This article, focusing mainly on the U.S. side in these wars, argues that three characteristics of American policy had enduring meaning for the rest of the Cold War and even beyond: the official mindsets that led to U.S. involvement, the centrality of the China threat in American decision making, and the common legacy of intervention against nationalism and in support of authoritarian regimes.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Asia, Vietnam, Korea
  • Author: Scott Snyder, Joyce Lee
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The impact of the Korean War on North Korean politics, economy, foreign policy, and relations with the United States has been significant. The unsuccessful conclusion of war brought about dramatic changes in North Korea's political economic system by ending direct Soviet control, providing a basis for the consolidation of Kim Il Sung's power within the Korean Workers' Party, and feeding a desire on the part of Kim Il Sung to impose political and economic control as the self-actualized “center.” Kim Il Sung's ability to eliminate political rivals and establish and lead a totalitarian political system requiring loyalty to himself and his son, Kim Jong Il, the initial success of North Korea's centrally-planned economic system and mass mobilization policies that marked the height of North Korea's economic success in the 1950s and 1960s, a complex relationship between the Soviet Union and China that Kim Il Sung was able to manipulate to North Korea's advantage, and the enduring legacy of enmity between the United States and North Korea despite dramatic changes in the international system are factors that have clear influence on post-war North Korea. These influences persist today as dominant influences on North Korea's internal politics, economics, and foreign policy.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, North Korea, Soviet Union, Korea
  • Author: Taewoo Kim
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: In the last decade the ROK-U.S. alliance has soured as the two ideologically slanted predecessor administrations of Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun brandished 'idealist policy experiments' over issues critical to the alliance. Under the banner of 'autonomy,' the Roh administration initiated the 2007 decision to separate operational control (OPCON) and dismantle the Combined Forces Command (CFC) by 2012. The Defense Reform 2020 was a decisive masterpiece to placate the conservative realists critical to the Roh's leftist experiments. The task of redressing the vestige of distortions belongs to the newly elected Lee Myung Bak, who already began restoration of the bilateral relations since the two summits in 2008, which promised to forge a 'strategic alliance.' If the 2007 agreement over OPCON and CFC is irreversible, the Lee administration has no other choice but to formulate a new security cooperation while utilizing the Defense Reform as the highway leading to military transformation and upgraded ROK-U.S. cooperation in that regard. The rationale is that the U.S. will remain a critical partner even after the transfer of OPCON in all defense areas such as collaboration upon a Korean contingency, purchase of new weapon systems, and interoperability. There are other critical issues that need mutual adjustment and understanding. For South Korea, more active participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) is worth a try. The U.S. needs to understand South Korea's hesitation to fully participate in the U.S.-initiated TMD. Technically, the proximity to North Korea's high speed ballistic missiles may nullify the South's missile defense efforts. Politically, such participation will irritate China and Russia. Particularly, U.S. recognition of Japan's claim over Dokdo (Takesima) island, if any, will pour cold water on ROK-U.S.-Japan trilateral maritime cooperation, and dishearten 'ordinary South Koreans' who pin high expectations on the 'strategic alliance.'
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, South Korea, Island