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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: Bruce E. Bechtol Jr. Ph.D.
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper will address many issues and challenges that have occurred in the North Korean military since Kim Jong-un has taken over as the leader in North Korea. There have been numerous issues relating to strife in the North Korean military since 2011, and some have opined that this is because of Kim Jong-un's lack of control over this key institution within North Korea. The evidence confirms that there remain many challenges to Kim Jong-un gaining total control–and loyalty over the military. Largely to make up for this weakness, we have seen numerous purges and movement of officials within the North Korean leadership structure during the early stages of the Kim Jong-un regime. Kim Jong-un showed the world that he would use his military to conduct the same types of saber rattling that his father engaged in during the spring of 2013. But perhaps most importantly, North Korea has continued to advance its weaponry and capabilities since Kim Jong-un took over as the leader of the country. In fact, the country as a whole has not evolved - not in any way that can be easily seen. Quite to the contrary; it appears that the North Korean regime under Kim Jong-un is following a script laid out for it by Kim Jong-il and his advisors - many of whom are now in the power circle of Kim Jong-un. What has obviously been different in the early stages of the Kim Jong-un regime is the fact that, unlike his grandfather and his father, Kim Jong-un does not appear to have a strong grip on the military. This has led to large-scale purges and movement of officials from one position to another - even more so than occurred during the early years of his father's rule. But one thing is for certain, in following a script already laid out for him, Kim Jong-un will continue to maintain and upgrade the conventional military forces, the asymmetric forces, and the nuclear capabilities of his country.
  • Political Geography: North Korea
  • Author: Eui-Gak Hwang
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This article will describe the recent status of the North Korean economy and its external trade as well as the derailed North-South economic interaction. Despite several attempts by North Korea to introduce change involving the term 'economic reform', North Korea has not yet advanced during the last thirty years. Its economic deadlocks are owed, first, to its very principles in which economic reform must be permissible only within the set of basic values held by the monoparty about "juche (self-reliant)" socialism. In other words, even partial decentralization is itself being centrally directed and eyed with military-first targets. Second, the North Korean leadership and its supporting elites, the final arbiters deciding how far it is permissible to open its system, are apprehensive that a change in its system would actually lead to the collapse of their established power structure. The fear of reform arbiters regarding a revolutionary bottom-up movement has played a role in inhibiting action. North-South economic cooperation as well as the resistance to North's external openness must also be considered for its potential positive and negative effects on the people in the monarchic hermit kingdom. North Korea is likely to remain little changed as long as Kim's family continues its current rule. The only chance for real change may occur if the young and liberal Kim Jung-eun wakes up and agrees to unite with South Korea.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Hugo Wheegook Kim
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: There is a vast literature that examines the American containment approach to communism throughout the Cold War era. However, few authors focus on the flip side of U.S. Cold War policy: constraint. In addition to their distaste for communism, Americans also feared "rogue" anti-communist allies dragging the U.S. into a larger-scale war with their common communist enemies. This fear especially applied to the South Korean authoritarian state under Syngman Rhee, who harnessed rabid anti-communism both to legitimize his rule and to try to embroil the U.S. in further conflict on the Korean peninsula. In order to exercise greater influence over such "rogue allies" as Syngman Rhee's South Korea, the U.S. opted to pursue strong bilateral alliances in East Asia, where they feared entrapment the most. As a result, solid relationships like the U.S.-ROK alliance came to dominate the East Asian security architecture, leaving little space for East Asian multilateralism to take root.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korean Peninsula
  • Author: William W. Stueck, Jr.
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The North Korean attack on June 25, 1950 probably could have been avoided had the United States made a greater effort to signal a readiness to resist it by force. The United States failed to engage in such an effort due to strategic considerations, bureaucratic and domestic politics, and the decision-making model employed by President Harry S Truman, in which the commander-in-chief was relatively disengaged on foreign policy issues until the point of crisis was reached.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea, Korea
  • 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: Taewoo Kim
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: In macroscopic perspective, the ROK-U.S. alliance has evolved toward a desirable future-oriented one and public trust has been generally robust. Most South Koreans remember it as an unmatched blessing for their security and prosperity. In microscopic perspective, however, the alliance was not without ordeals and tribulations, and the public trust not without dangerous vicissitudes. Today, many South Koreans regard the 2007 OPCON (Operational Control) agreement as a strange decision made in a strange time, thus representing the era of ordeals. The sinking of the Cheonan on March 26, 2010, sheds new light on the OPCON issue. For those South Koreans who think that 2012 is the worst time for the OPCON transfer and dismantlement of the CFC, the bloody North Korean provocation reminds us of the Korean War sixty years ago, distinguishes once again friends from foes, and opportunely rekindles the OPCON issue. They believe that an indefinite postponement of the OPCON transfer is what the two nations should do to sustain a more future-oriented alliance and public trust toward it.
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea, 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