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  • Author: Bruce Bennett
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States have maintained a strong security alliance for 60 years. Throughout that period, North Korea has posed continuing threats that have evolved significantly in recent years. Because North Korea is a failing state, the ROK and the United States must seek to deter, and, if necessary, defeat a range of North Korean challenges, from provocations to major war. They must also be prepared to deal with a North Korean government collapse. All of these challenges potentially involve a ROK/US offensive into North Korea to unify Korea, with significantly different force requirements than the historical defense of Seoul.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea, Korea
  • 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: Sue Mi Terry
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Pyongyang under the Kim dynasty has pursued three broad and consistent strategic goals: (1) The pursuit of nuclear weapons program in order to gain international acceptance of the North as a bona fide nuclear weapons state; (2) securing a peace treaty in an effort to remove U.S. forces from the Korean Peninsula; and, (3) reunification with South Korea on its own terms—the ultimate if increasingly unrealistic objective. To achieve these goals, the North has followed a policy of brinksmanship with the U.S. and South Korea: provoke when Washington or Seoul seem preoccupied, up the ante in the face of international condemnation, and pivot back to a peace offensive, which usually ends with some form of dialogue and negotiation, culminating, finally, in concessions for the North. This article reviews in detail how such policies have been pursued by Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un. It shows that, while there have been changes in North Korean policy, they have been primarily tactical not strategic—the North has changed how it pursues its goals (sometimes using military forces, at other times covert actions, or even negotiations), but it has remained consistent in its objectives. Not even the regime's literal bankruptcy has convinced the regime to change course, and for good reason: such brinkmanship tactics have paid off for the North by making possible the regime's survival for more than sixty years. Kim Jong-un, accordingly, has continued this strategy. This article ends by suggesting how the U.S. and South Korea should deal with the North's militaristic foreign policy. In brief, the two allies need to break the cycle of provocation by making clear they will no longer reward North Korea's destabilizing behavior while pursuing a longer-term goal of their own.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, South Korea, North Korea, Korea, Sinai Peninsula
  • 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: Bruce Klingner
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Shaken by North Korea's two deadly attacks in 2010, the Lee Myungbak Administration recalibrated ongoing defense reform plans to enable South Korea's military to protect the country more effectively. President Lee's Defense Reform 307 plan sought to redress many of South Korea's security shortcomings, but Seoul remained hampered by demographic and fiscal constraints. Indeed, questions remained as to whether the government would fully fund South Korea's defense needs, defense budget shortfalls having delayed previous reform efforts. However, South Korea does not bear its security burden alone and its alliance with the United States will continue to play an irreplaceable role in maintaining peace and stability throughout East Asia. Washington should therefore continue to ensure South Korea's security through robust U.S. military deployments in the Pacifica and with an extended deterrence guarantee. While North Korean threats will remain the paramount focus of the U.S.-South Korean alliance, neither country should lose sight of the benefits of Seoul's "going global" with its political, economic, and military capabilities.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Korea
  • Author: David S. Maxwell
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This article argues that to deal with North Korean provocations, the Alliance must take a holistic strategic approach to the entire North Korean problem. As long as the Kim family regime continues a strategic approach focused on regime survival, reunification of the peninsula under its control, attaining recognition as a nuclear power and trying to remove US forces from the peninsula, it will continue to use provocations as part of its strategy while oppressing its people and conducting illicit activities around the world. The Alliance has taken a piecemeal or stovepipe approach to the complex problems posed by North Korea with various organizations and senior officials responsible for a specific portfolio with no apparent effective synchronization among them. All activities of the Alliance must be focused on achieving an overall end state that is in concert with the 2009 Joint Vision Statement emphasizing peaceful reunification and ultimately answering the so called "Korea Question" that the 1953 Armistice said must be answered. By synchronizing ways and means toward this end, the Alliance can effectively deal with provocations while working to shape the conditions necessary for reunification. However, it must be understood that the foundation for the Alliance strategy rests upon readiness of the combined military forces.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Korea
  • Author: Yoon-Shik Park
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Four and a half years after the agreement between the U.S and Korean governments, the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA or KORUS) was finally approved by both the U.S. Congress and the Korean Parliament in late 2011 and has been in effect since March 15, 2012. KORUS is the most important free trade agreement for the U.S. since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that came into force in 1994. Korea has become an important trade partner of the United States, for which Korea is the 7th largest trading partner, 5th largest export market for agricultural products, 2nd largest market for U.S. services in Asia, and 10th largest market for information technology products. The total U.S.-Korea trade volume tripled over just two decades between 1990 and 2011. However, the relative importance of two countries' bilateral trade has declined in recent decades. This trendline decline is expected to be reversed in the coming years because of the KORUS. Several studies have been conducted to estimate the potential effects of KORUS. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) study in 2007 estimated that U.S. GDP would increase by $10 to $12 billion (about 0.1%) and U.S. exports would rise by $9.7 billion to $10.9 billion, if KORUS were fully implemented. A University of Michigan study, commissioned by the Korea Economic Institute, estimated that U.S. GDP would increase by $25 billion (0.14% of GDP). This estimate was larger than the US ITC result, in part because the study included the effects of liberalization in services trade. The Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) estimated the potential economic impact of KORUS on Korea's economy. The study concluded that KORUS would lead to an increase of 0.42% to 0.59% in Korean GDP according to a static analysis and 1.99% to 2.27% according to a dynamic analysis. A study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2009 found that America would suffer a net loss of more than 345,000 jobs, $35 billion in lost export sales and U.S. GDP failing to grow by $40 billion, if KORUS were NOT implemented while the European Union and Canada moved forward to implement FTAs with Korea.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Korea
  • Author: Celeste Arrington
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Nearly all foreign nationals allegedly abducted by North Korea (DPRK) were Japanese or South Korean citizens. Suspected abductees' families mobilized in Japan and South Korea in the late 1990s to raise awareness of the abductions, seek information about their loved ones, and hold their own governments responsible for not having protected citizens. But public and political concern for abductee and their families has differed greatly in Japan and South Korea (ROK). The abductions have dominated Japanese public consciousness and policymakers' decisions regarding North Korea for the past decade, since the late Kim Jong-il admitted North Korean involvement in the abductions of thirteen Japanese nationals. Although more than five hundred South Korean abductees remain detained in North Korea, the abductions issue has received less attention in South Korea. What accounts for such variation in the trajectories of the abductions issue and related activism in Japan and South Korea? This article posits that the divergence in the efficacy of families' activism in Japan and South Korea is the product of families' interactions with each country's distinctive media and activist spheres. Thus, this article elucidates key features of the Japanese and Korean public spheres that affect each country's North Korea policy.
  • Topic: Mass Media, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Japan, Korea
  • Author: James I. Matray
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This article describes the events surrounding the Second North Korean nuclear crisis that began in October 2002. It focuses attention particularly on identifying the reasons President George W. Bush decided to abandon the Agreed Framework of October 1994, as well as questioning the validity of his claim that Pyongyang's development of a Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) program justified the initiation of this confrontation. The article begins with a description of the factors that explain the Bush administration's adoption of "Hawk Engagement" as a strategy to achieve regime change in North Korea. It then covers the ongoing efforts to end the crisis, tracing negotiations at the Six-Party Talks beginning in August 2003 in Beijing. The article presents evidence to substantiate the judgment that Bush's hardline advisors were responsible for implementing a militant and aggressive policy that, rather than toppling Kim Jong Il's government, strained relations with South Korea, elevated the status of China in East Asia, and forced North Korea to expand its nuclear weapons program as an act of self-defense.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Korea
  • 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