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  • Author: Christos G. Frentzos
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: After the United States, the Republic of Korea sent more troops to Vietnam than any other nation. Approximately 325,000 South Korean soldiers served in Vietnam between 1964 and 1973. Although the Korean military and economy benefited substantially from the conflict, the war also left some deep scars on the national psyche. While the government did not permit public criticism of the war in the 1960s and 1970s, South Koreans have now finally begun to confront their troubled Vietnam legacy. Often referred to as Korea’s “forgotten war,” the Vietnam Conflict has recently made its way into Korean popular culture through movies, novels and songs about the war. Increased freedom and democracy has created an environment where both the Korean government and the people have begun to openly discuss issues such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and alleged wartime atrocities committed by South Korean servicemen. This paper will analyze some of the more controversial aspects of Korea’s involvement in the Vietnam War and examine how South Koreans themselves have addressed these issues both officially and within their popular culture during the last few decades.
  • Topic: War, History, Culture, Media, Conflict, Atrocities, Vietnam War, Veterans
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, United States of America
  • Author: Thomas Petri
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United States Marine Corps’ 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, (ANGLICO) supported the U.S. Army and allied units in the Republic of Vietnam from 1965 to 1973. In the summer of 1966, ten officers and 75 enlisted Marines were assigned to the 2 nd Republic of Korea Marine Corps Brigade. This paper recounts my tour of duty as a tactical air controller with the brigade’s 1 st Battalion from 1966 to 1968. I rotated among the battalion’s three companies and reconnaissance platoon, directing air strikes, coordinating helicopter resupply and arranging medical evacuations. My responsibilities allowed me to work alongside the company commander and fire support coordinator; my rank enabled me to interact with the company’s noncommissioned officers and enlisted Marines. Together we fought the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong in nameless rice paddies and jungle choked heights, forging a legend that would define the fighting spirit that has become synonymous with the reputation and respect earned by Korea’s magnificent Marines. Throughout my association with the Blue Dragon Brigade, I have always been impressed with the leadership, training and discipline infused at every level of command. Employing two incidents of mortal combat as a vehicle to demonstrate these attributes, I attempt to convey the admiration and respect I hold for my brother Marines from the Land of the Morning Calm.
  • Topic: History, Armed Forces, Conflict, Memoir, Vietnam War
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, United States of America
  • Author: James F. Durand
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines North Korea’s dispatch of pilots, psychological operations, and tunneling specialists to aid the Democratic Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Growing American and South Korean involvement in Vietnam provided an opportunity for North Korea’s increasingly assertive military leaders to better understand their adversaries. Pyongyang’s secret deployment was facilitated by the “Partisan Generals,” who sought to fight the Americans in the sky, demoralize the South Koreans on the ground, and perfect the techniques of underground warfare. North Korea provided material assistance that was significant given its limited resources. Additionally, North Korea detained South Korean Prisoners of War captured by the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong. English, Korean, and Vietnamese language materials are used throughout this paper.
  • Topic: Cold War, Conflict, Vietnam War, Psychological Operations, Prisoners of War
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea, Vietnam, United States of America
  • Author: Michael MacArthur Bosack
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United Nations Command is the multinational headquarters that led the allied forces in the Korean War. The command’s Military Armistice Commission supervises the Armistice Agreement. While the United Nations Command and its activities are common knowledge in the Republic of Korea, the command’s long-standing organization and functions in Japan are less well known. This relationship began in 1950 and is codified in the 1954 United Nations-Japan Status of Forces Agreement. The command’s rear area headquarters, the aptly named United Nations Command-Rear Headquarters, has managed this relationship since 1957. After decades of few changes, the United Nations Command and its Sending States broadened traditional roles and missions from Japan beginning in the early 2000s. This led to expanded activities within the legal framework and security mandate governing the United Nations Command’s relationship with Japan, strengthening Japan’s ties with the command’s member states, and supporting the “maximum pressure” campaign against North Korea. This paper examines the relationship between the United Nations Command and Japan, beginning with the institutions and interests underpinning the relationship. Next, it describes the Status of Forces Agreement and how the relationship functions. The paper concludes with a discussion of relevant policy issues, limitations to greater cooperation, and opportunities for expanded roles within the framework of the relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, History, Military Affairs, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United Nations, United States of America
  • Author: Jonathan Lim
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper conceptualizes the emerging détente within inter-Korean relations as evidence of tangible transformations within North Korea’s domestic and foreign policy, establishing how this phenomenon represents a unique and conclusive opportunity for peace and engagement. It contextualizes the inter-Korean and Singapore summits as foundations for the détente, before expanding upon the nature of the détente through the contrasting objectives of North and South Korea, and the transitional nature of domestic affairs in North Korea. The article establishes the bona fide nature of North Korea’s détente, as revealed by a direct connection between North Korea’s international diplomatic gestures vis-av-vis transitional domestic circumstances; involving incremental economic modernization and political liberalization under a shift in focus within Kim Jong-un’s Byungjin Line policy. This analysis departs from and orthodox Western interpretation of inter-Korean relations, providing a holistic analysis of inter-Korean affairs and North Korean domestic politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Singapore
  • Author: Jisung Yoo
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This study investigates the South Korean government’s role in the success of the Hallyu [Korean Wave] and the growing global interest in Korean popular culture by examining official news releases on Hallyu issued by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism from 2007 to 2017. The author argues that the domestic news releases had a supporting role for artists and cultural products in South Korea; they didn’t directly contribute to Korean industrial economic growth. In contrast, the international news releases tended to play a leading role in promoting Korea’s positive image; they contributed to Korea’s industrial economic growth by means of cultural diplomacy and soft power. Statistical analyses were conducted to determine whether a significant relationship exists between domestic news releases and industrial economic growth. To provide evidence of the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism’s leading role in promoting artists and cultural products abroad, the author examined and qualitatively analyzed English, Chinese, and Japanese language news releases. The findings revealed that the number of releases had no significant relationship with increased annual economic growth, which seems to come from the power of Hallyu itself, not the government’s support. The qualitative analysis shows that international releases were used as a tool to achieve foreign policy goals and advance a positive national image. This study contributes to the growing literature on Hallyu by discussing the dual role of official news releases.
  • Topic: Government, Culture, Soft Power, popular culture, Cultural Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: South Korea, Korea, Global Focus
  • Author: Jenna Gibson
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last decade, Western publics have gradually caught on to the Kpop phenomenon; the Korean Wave has arrived on European and North American shores and shows no signs of receding. Heightened interest has corresponded with increased mainstream media coverage, both among news and entertainment outlets. This article analyzes mainstream media coverage of the Korean Wave from 2009 to 2019, including an examination of overall trends in K-pop framing over time. This analysis suggests that coverage of K-pop in Western media has proceeded through four distinct stages of development: 1) Introductory Stage, 2) Gangnam Style Stage, 3) Korean Wave Stage, and 4) Mainstreaming Stage. This article also examines how the changing portrayal of K-pop for general audiences has corresponded with a similar evolution in portrayals of South Korea and Korean society as a whole.
  • Topic: Media, News Analysis, Soft Power, Music, popular culture
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Hyeri Jung
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper unravels dynamic interactions between Korean popular culture and its fans in the United States, focusing on how cultural hybridity of the Korean Wave un/consciously facilitates soft power, and what sociocultural implications it might yield in global/international contexts. Employing various theoretical frameworks of globalization, critical/cultural media studies, hybridity, soft power, and fan studies, I take a qualitative methodological approach of what I call a reversed media ethnography: Examining the contraflow of Korean media culture on U.S. fans. I employ various qualitative and interpretive techniques including grounded theory to analyze the rich corpus of data I collected over a period of two years to examine the nature of transcultural media and fans of the Korean Wave in the United States. Overall, the findings of this paper suggest that the complex layers of hybridity embedded in Korean popular culture creates complicated webs of transculturality. The Korean Wave exemplifies strategically well-balanced cultural hybridity that arouses a certain feeling of affinity: Emotional proximity. Korean popular culture evokes continuous negotiations of identities and generates nonthreatening wholesome content that comfortably appeals to American fans with various ethnic, racial, social, and cultural backgrounds. The notion of uriness (we-ness in English), collective unity and solidarity, embedded in Korean popular culture and its fandom culture works as one of the multifaceted soft power in the eyes of American fans that leads to an alternative post-Western soft power. This study contends that it is not the so-called hybridized Korean popular culture per se that makes it transcultural, and global to some extent, but the often under-recognized vital agents in the global sphere: Legions of fans.
  • Topic: Culture, Soft Power, Ethnography, Music
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dal Yong Jin, Ju Oak Kim
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The Korean unscripted format has recently reshaped media flows and practices on a global scale. This article, based upon a comparative analysis of Grandpas Over Flowers (tvN) and Better Late Than Never (NBC), explores how the Korean broadcasting industry has attracted Western broadcasting providers with its travel-based reality format, and how an American television network has produced its own version, negotiating the local specificity that the original series contained. Certainly, cultural differences in media production between the two societies are largely embedded in the localizing process. While Grandpas Over Flowers was dependent upon the long-standing friendship between veteran actors and their public images as fathers and grandfathers within society, Better Late Than Never employs veteran entertainers’ professional successes as the driving force for adventuring into exotic cultures in East Asia. This article claims that the Grandpas Over Flowers case evokes a new phase of the Korean Wave phenomenon, revealing a non-Western media player’s attempt at challenging the domination of United States and United Kingdom television formats in the global media industries.
  • Topic: Mass Media, Culture, Media, popular culture
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jieun Lee
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: In the midst of a worldwide fascination with Hallyu, South Korea’s cultural products, the popularity of K-pop and K-drama has soared to unprecedented levels. In New York City, Korean American playwright Jason Kim’s Off-Broadway musical KPOP (2017) brought K-pop music and dance to the stage. In the Twin Cities, a Hmong American playwright May Lee-Yang set her play, The Korean Drama Addict’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity (2018), within her Hmong ethnic background, as a romantic satire and homage to K-drama. While both plays function superbly as theatrical entertainment, I argue that these works serve as critical investigations into the methods of creating and disseminating K-pop and K-drama. Both theater pieces bring up issues of racial, gender, sexual, national, and ethnic identities as they reimagine Hallyu in North America and assess its impact on Asian America.
  • Topic: Culture, Ethnicity, Identities, Music, popular culture, Theater
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Soojin Ahn
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: As social media platforms such as YouTube have become important access points for Korean popular music (K-pop), international fans have enjoyed recording and sharing their responses to K-pop music videos on social media. In particular, reaction videos have been the most convenient and popular way for many international fans to share their opinions on and reactions to K-pop songs with others. This study aims to investigate the unique characteristics of reaction videos to share K-pop fans’ cultural experiences through YouTube videos and discuss the potential use of such fans’ learner motivation and learning environment for Korean language education. Four YouTube reaction videos were investigated through thematic analysis and through a discourse analysis informed by interactional sociolinguistics. The findings show how the reaction video creators build a community with other fans by establishing familiarity through agreement, considering the audience, and exchanging information, not only about a specific song, but also about K-pop in general and Korean Wave genres. These creators also demonstrated multiliteracies by expressing their opinions and feelings through facial expressions, visuals, and dance. These creators make their reaction videos regularly, proving their long-term enthusiasm for K-pop and the Korean Wave. This research offers important implications for future Korean language education, which will embrace diverse groups of international learners who actively participate in K-pop fan activities online.
  • Topic: Culture, Social Media, Language, Music, YouTube
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, South Korea, Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Kyle Ferrier
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: South Korea is at a critical crossroads. The future of the liberal international order, a major source of strength for Seoul, is unclear. President Donald Trump has repudiated the longstanding American role of upholding the liberal order. While Beijing has been quick to capitalize on this policy shift, the norms China seeks to promote either fall short of or run counter to the advancement of an open and rules-based international system. Although South Korea may be caught between these two great powers, it is by no means powerless to influence how international economic norms are advanced. To best meet its economic and even strategic interests, the Moon administration should begin negotiations to have South Korea join the remaining countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as the CPTPP.
  • Topic: International Relations, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Trans-Pacific Partnership, Free Trade, regionalism, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Troy Stangarone
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Following a relatively successful period for U.S.-South Korea economic relations under the Bush and Obama administrations, Washington and Seoul have entered a new period of economic tension in the Trump administration. Unlike prior U.S. presidents, who placed a priority on negotiating fair rules in the United States’ economic relationships, President Trump has prioritized outcomes. As a result, one of his administration’s earliest moves was to renegotiate the KORUS Free Trade Agreement. While the results of the renegotiation were modest, they may help to expand the sale of American automobiles in the Republic of Korea in the long-run. The largest outcome of the negotiations may be to protect the Ford Motor Company from South Korean competition in the U.S. market as the company transitions to sales focused on light trucks. While the renegotiation has eased tensions for the moment, the prospect of economic engagement with North Korea, the Trump administration’s continued use of national security to erect trade barriers, and the emergence of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles could result in growing tensions in the relationship.
  • Topic: Economics, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Negotiation, Free Trade, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Michelle R. Palumbarit
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines the evolution of Korean Studies in the Republic of the Philippines. Despite a security relationship with the United Nations Command that dates to the earliest days of the Korean War, neither the government nor academic institutions considered establishing Korean Studies programs for nearly half a century. South Korean companies invested heavily in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations in the 1990s, leading to the arrival of entrepreneurs, tourists, and retirees. This created a demand for Korean language education to support the increased business activities and employment opportunities that accompanied Korean investment. Although the pattern of South Korean trade and investment activity in the Philippines was similar to its Southeast Asian neighbors, the establishment of Korean Studies in the Philippines occurred later than similar programs in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Nonetheless, the Korean Studies programs in the Philippines paralleled the development of programs in other Southeast Asian nations with language training classes leading to broader studies of Korean history, economy, politics and culture.
  • Topic: Education, History, Bilateral Relations, Academia
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea, Philippines, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: George Hutchinson
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The international community’s confrontation with North Korea reached crisis proportions in 2017, following Pyongyang’s ballistic missile launches and its sixth nuclear test. In the wake of a series of high-level summits, tensions began to thaw in 2018. At the inter-Korean summit in Panmunjom on April 27, 2018, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to seek support from the international community to denuclearize. But the international community, led by the U.S. in concert with the United Nations Security Council, has already worked tirelessly over the past 26 years to coordinate efforts to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. Successive U.S. administrations have worked through the cycle of confrontation, crisis, discussions and agreements with North Korea. Nonetheless, all these agreements have ultimately fallen apart, allowing North Korea to advance its nuclear program. This paper focuses on two key questions: How has the international community contributed toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, and what is its role in facilitating the complete, verifiable dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear program? Ultimately, the success of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula will be measured by whether North Korea completely dismantles its nuclear program. Fortunately, the international “tools” are on the table, but successfully denuclearizing North Korea will, in the end, be a matter of effectively enforcing existing international measures.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, United Nations, Sanctions, Nonproliferation, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Phillip C. Shon
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Previous works on parricide have been primarily based on North American and European contexts, to the near exclusion of other nations, sociocultural contexts, and time periods. Using newspaper accounts of parricide from the Chosun Ilbo, this paper aims to examine the sources of conflict between parents and their offspring in preindustrial South Korea. The findings reveal that arguments, financial disputes, and discipline are notable sources of conflict in South Korean parricides. Additionally, the results suggest that parricides in South Korea are shaped by Confucian value systems.
  • Topic: Crime, Culture, Conflict, Parricide, Confucianism
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Justin Malzac
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The historiography of the one of the most significant events of the “Park Chung-hee Era” has changed little in the past decades. Recent research does not analyze the agency of Park and his fellow coup makers. It has largely been taken for granted that Park was the architect and leader of the May 16th coup that eventually brought him to power. However, in 2015, new interviews with Kim Jong-pil were released that strongly contradicted much of the traditional narrative. Kim, one of the main coup leaders, strongly asserted that he was the mastermind behind the coup, and that he enlisted Park to the cause, not the other way around. By comparing Kim’s new narrative with the primary record, this paper attempts to assess the veracity of his comments that challenge the conventional narrative.
  • Topic: United Nations, History, Coup
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Gary J. Sampson
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: In 2017, North Korea under Kim Jong-un has made significant strides toward the capabilities needed for a credible nuclear deterrent. This article analyzes the most recent achievements of the North Korean nuclear weapons program, including its September 2017 nuclear test and its three long-range missile tests in the latter half of 2017. Observers should not discount Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. However, other capabilities such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and targeting require further development to achieve the full range of capabilities associated with a credible nuclear deterrent. Because of the high costs associated with the development of robust strategic intelligence and targeting capabilities, Pyongyang may be willing to settle for lower levels of capability in these areas, which may still be sufficient to guide nuclear attacks. As a result, policymakers must move to a bargaining strategy that acknowledges the reality of North Korea’s nuclear capability, marking a significant policy shift among regional allies. Pyongyang’s long-held desire to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its regional allies may be coming to fruition. Kim Jong-un has shrewdly played his hand from a position of weakness and succeeded where many others failed—a high-risk path upon which he still walks. China’s minimum credible nuclear deterrent may be a model for Kim Jong-un’s development of North Korean nuclear capability.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Nuclear Weapons, Surveillance, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Gabriel Jonsson
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines the United Nations Development Programme’s role in South and North Korea’s economic development. The UNDP is not only the UN’s lead agency for economic and social development, it is one of the few UN organizations to have worked with both countries in traditional bilateral arrangements, as well as a in multilateral initiative. Operating in South Korea from 1963 to 2009, the UNDP contributed to the nation’s economic development by complimenting the government’s policies. However, its role was minor compared to the government’s own actions. Nonetheless, South Korea has served on the UNDP board four times since its UN admission in 1991, raising the country’s diplomatic standing. After North Korea joined the UNDP in 1979, the organization’s work in the country focused on improving food production and supporting industrial development. These activities helped improve the economic crisis since the 1990s. In the 1990s, the UNDP provided humanitarian assistance and scholarships to develop human resources. Pyongyang officials restricted the UNDP’s work throughout the time it was active in North Korea. These violations led the UNDP to suspend operations in 2007. Since the early 1990s, the UNDP has supported the Tumen River Area Development Program, the only initiative that involved the two Koreas, as well as China, Russia and Mongolia. Although the UNDP facilitated initial contacts, it was unable to overcome longstanding animosities and disagreements. The successor Greater Tumen Initiative continues to languish.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, United Nations, United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United Nations
  • Author: Shawn P. Creamer
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United Nations Command is the oldest and most distinguished of the four theater-level commands in the Republic of Korea. Authorized by the nascent United Nations Security Council, established by the United States Government, and initially commanded by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the United Nations Command had over 930,000 servicemen and women at the time the Armistice Agreement was signed. Sixteen UN member states sent combat forces and five provided humanitarian assistance to support the Republic of Korea in repelling North Korea’s attack. Over time, other commands and organizations assumed responsibilities from the United Nations Command, to include the defense of the Republic of Korea. The North Korean government has frequently demanded the command’s dissolution, and many within the United Nations question whether the command is a relic of the Cold War. This paper examines the United Nations Command, reviewing the establishment of the command and its subordinate organizations. The next section describes the changes that occurred as a result of the establishment of the Combined Forces Command in 1978, as well as the implications of removing South Korean troops from the United Nations Command’s operational control in 1994. The paper concludes with an overview of recent efforts to revitalize the United Nations Command, with a focus on the command’s relationship with the Sending States.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, Military Affairs, Peace, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Noam Hartoch, Alon Levkowitz
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests during the Kim Jong-un era have strengthened the country’s military power, deterring South Korea, Japan and, in particular, the United States. While North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities are rapidly improving, parallel developments aren’t occurring in the traditionally technical air and air defense forces. Plagued with aging airframes, technical problems, parts shortages and budget shortfalls, the North Korean Air Force no longer challenges the South Korean and American air forces. This paper examines the North Korean Air Force, analyzing its organization and deployment, air defense and early warning capabilities, aircraft acquisition, and aircraft production. Shortfalls in each of these areas caused Pyongyang to develop, test, and operate an increasingly sophisticated drone fleet. While North Korea won’t be able to build a state-of-the-art aircraft industry, it will nonetheless find creative ways to strengthen its air force capabilities.
  • Topic: Nuclear Power, Weapons , Drones, Missile Defense, Air Force
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, South Korea, North Korea, Poland, Soviet Union, New Zealand, United States of America
  • Author: James F. Durand
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Founder and first Commandant Shin Hyun-joon led the Republic of Korea Marine Corps longer than any other officer. Created without American advisors or equipment, the Navy’s amphibious unit initially reflected his long association with the customs and practices of the Imperial Japanese Army and lessons learned on battlefields across Manchuria and China. Shin’s path to the Corps’ top position also included service with the Korean Coast Guard and Republic of Korea Navy. He led Marines in counterguerrilla operations on Cheju Island, during the Incheon-Seoul campaign, and in fighting along the east coast. As commandant, Shin transformed the rapidly expanding Corps, forging a relationship with the United States Marine Corps and instituting training and education practices modeled on the American system. He remained in uniform after serving as commandant, commanding the 1st Marine Brigade, advising the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Minister of National Defense, and forming the Marine Education Base. Avowedly apolitical, he was nonetheless close to the leaders of South Korea’s first three republics: respected by Syngman Rhee, beloved by Chang Myon, and esteemed and subsequently feared by Park Chung-hee. Shin is not only South Korea’s longest serving general officer, but the nation’s longest serving ambassador. Drawn from the memoirs of General Shin and his contemporaries, this essay provides insight into the relationships between the “Father of the Marine Corps” and the Republic of Korea’s early leaders in the establishment and evolution of this elite military service.
  • Topic: History, Military Affairs, Leadership, Conflict, Coup
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Robert Collins
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Rescuing inmates from North Korea's vast political prison system presents significant challenges for American and South Korean political and military leaders. The lives of prisoners would be immediately threatened in the event of war or the collapse of the Kim Family Regime, as former camp guards who defected to the Republic of Korea have testified to this effect. The events that would threaten the prisoners' lives would occur at a time when the military assets needed for their rescue are in most demand. Defending Seoul and treating civilian casualties will remain priorities for military commanders, who will find it difficult to divert the specially trained troops, air support and logistical resources required to neutralize camp guards, secure the prisons, and provide immediate aid to the inmates. Yet, rescuing the inmates would provide benefits, including gaining the support from a wary North Korean population and legitimizing post-crisis reunification efforts. Because of the strategic implications of this decision, only the American and South Korean presidents could authorize such a mission.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Regime Change, Prisons/Penal Systems, Political Prisoners
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Gordon G. Chang
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: China is playing a duplicitous game when it comes to North Korea. It proclaims it is enforcing Security Council resolutions when it is in fact not. The Chinese have overwhelming leverage over the North, but they will not use their power to disarm the Kim Family regime, at least in the absence of intense pressure from the United States. Beijing believes Pyongyang furthers important short-term Chinese objectives, and so views it as a weapon against Washington and others. Beijing’s attempts to punish Seoul over its decision to accept deployment of the THAAD missile defense system reveal true intentions.
  • Topic: Sanctions, Authoritarianism, Weapons , Missile Defense, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: James F. Durand
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: With nearly 900,000 long-term residents, Japan has one of the largest populations of overseas Koreans. Japan is unique in that it is the only country that further classifies its Korean residents by external political affiliation; i.e., those not adopting Japanese nationality are affiliated with the Korean Residents Union of Japan (Mindan) or the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon), organizations that are linked to South and North Korea, respectively. The status of Korean residents in Japan, and both organizations supporting them, is a product of Japan’s complex relationship with the Korean Peninsula during the last century. American concerns about Japan’s Korean residents—both as an occupying power and a treaty ally—add another dimension to what should have been a domestic or bilateral issue between the Government of Japan, its Korean residents, and North or South Korea. Chongryon’s long-term financial, material, and technical support to Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs highlighted the differences between all governments. However, Pyongyang’s admission that it abducted Japanese citizens has brought about significant changes in the Japanese government’s policies toward North Korea and Chongryon. These include the suspension of ferry services between the two countries and limiting remittances to North Korea. As the Trump Administration considers tighter sanctions as part of its North Korean strategy, the history of the Japan’s relations with its proPyongyang residents provides a cautionary tale about the international community’s ability to use sanctions as a means to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile ambitions.
  • Topic: Immigration, Sanctions, Weapons , Ethnicity, Abductions
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Seongwhun Cheon
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Managing a nuclear-armed North Korea is South Korea’s grand strategy to protect the nation’s vital security interest in the short term and achieve peaceful unification in the long term. Its foundation rests on two pillars of containing the North’s military expansion and nuclear coercion, and promoting constructive changes in North Korean society. This strategy of management is neither appeasement based on unfounded optimism of the North Korean leadership nor an intimidation tactic to overthrow the Kim Family Regime. Under the assumption that genuine peace or national integration is not possible unless North Korea is denuclearized and its society transformed, it is a strategy that exercises full vigilance toward the North and applies all available means and methods to reduce political and military threats from Pyongyang. It also patiently encourages gradual and fundamental changes in North Korea as the ultimate path to a denuclearized and unified Korean peninsula. The management strategy understands that no dialogue with North Korea could resolve the nuclear problem at a single stroke, and thus, it keeps expectations low and objectives achievable. It does not anticipate a sweeping deal to denuclearize North Korea.
  • Topic: Nuclear Power, Grand Strategy, Peace, Deterrence, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Gabriel Jonsson
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: South Korea has been board member of the UN Commission on Human Rights and member of the UN Human Rights Council serving as Chairman of the latter in 2016. Both organizations have been characterized by politicization, which undermines their work. However, no such example was found related to their work on human rights in North Korea. Although South Korea’s position on North Korean human rights issues had been inconsistent previously, Seoul has consistently supported UN resolutions since 2008. North Korea has rejected criticism from the UN of its human rights record. Work by the UN and South Korea on the North Korean human rights issue has failed to improve the situation. Regardless, these efforts have increased global awareness of North Korea rights violations and exerted some pressure on Pyongyang to address the situation. South Korea strengthened its commitment in this area when the National Assembly enacted the North Korean Human Rights Act in 2016. Realists’ and liberals’ views of international cooperation form the theoretical framework of the study.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Cooperation, United Nations, UN Human Rights Council (HRC)
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Randall Ireson
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Modern farming in Korea has followed two divergent paths since the partition of the peninsula. Both countries substantially raised agricultural production in the 1970s, but policy decisions in North Korea created a situation in which the farm sector stagnated and ultimately failed when faced with changes in the 1990s. In addition to reviewing the technical and policy changes since the start of the food crisis, this paper examines the likely consequences of reunification on the North Korean farm sector. Structural changes would include the dominance of a market economy, dissolution of cooperative and state farms, and the need to recapitalize the entire farm economy. Organizational changes regarding land tenure, operation and management of formerly collective resources, and new roles for former North Korean agricultural guidance and research organizations would be challenging. Rural residents would face personal challenges of adapting to the requirements and thinking patterns of a market economy, coupled with the loss of close technical direction by the North Korean planning system. Although there are opportunities for enhanced farm productivity and economic well being at the household level, smoothly adapting to reunification would greatly depend on planning, policies and resources set in place for such an event.
  • Topic: Agriculture, History, Famine, Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Shawn P. Creamer
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The theater-level command relationships in the Republic of Korea are complex and nuanced. They are often misunderstood by American and South Korean military and civilian leaders. Available open source resources often focus on specific elements of the command relationships, sometimes over-relying on official rhetoric from the respective commands. These narratives don’t provide a complete picture of how these distinct organizations work together towards the common goal of defending South Korea from North Korean aggression. This paper consolidates and amalgamates relevant open source resources to provide clarity to what was previously an opaque understanding of the interconnected, yet distinct relationships between the four concurrently operating theater-level commands that have roles in defending South Korea. In particular, this paper dissects each command’s roles, its relationships with the commands, and guidance and direction governing each command.
  • Topic: United Nations, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Alliance
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Greg Scarlatoiu
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was a great admirer of North Korean leader Kim Il-sung, attempting to duplicate the personality cult, national-Communism and other aspects of the North Korean dynastic totalitarian regime. Systematic human rights violations were common in both countries. Despite the relentless repression, indoctrination and surveillance, there are several factors that could potentially erode the Kim Family Regime’s grip on power, including informal marketization and increased information inflow from the outside world. As such, Romania provides an important precedent for the current situation in North Korea. Of particular note, understanding those factors that conferred legitimacy on the Romanian military enables a deeper appreciation of the military’s role in the anti-communist revolution and turbulent times that followed. Kim Jong-il learned from the Romanian experience, adopting a military first policy in North Korea. In contrast, Kim Jong-un has attempted to return some power to the Korean Workers Party. Kim Jong-un’s success in gaining the support of the country’s elites would be a key factor in avoiding a Romanian-style revolution and obliteration of the top leadership.
  • Topic: Human Rights, History, Regime Change, Authoritarianism, Capitalism
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Romania
  • Author: George Hutchinson
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United States-Republic of Korea Alliance has arrived at a critical juncture. In July 2016, the countries jointly decided to deploy the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense system to the Korean Peninsula to defend against North Korea’s accelerating nuclear and ballistic missile programs. China has long opposed an American-led, regional missile defense system, persistently warning South Korea against deploying THAAD. Since the deciding to deploy THAAD, the political landscapes in the U.S. and the ROK have changed dramatically. The new Donald J. Trump administration has signaled a change from the previous administration’s “strategic patience” policy, but details of the new approach have yet to emerge. North Korea, meanwhile, continues to aggressively test ballistic missiles and promote its nuclear weapons program. In South Korea, the impeachment and subsequent removal of Park Geun-hye triggered the need for a snap election, and a left-leaning candidate, Moon Jae-in, is leading in the polls. The election could mark a return of previous liberal administration policies that favored cooperation with North Korea. Additionally, Moon has signaled his opposition to THAAD. Nonetheless, the U.S. began deploying THAAD to South Korea in March 2017. China retaliated, implementing a series of economic, political, and military measures to pressure South Korea. This paper provides background on THAAD, analyzes the decision by Washington and Seoul to deploy the system to Korea, and examines Beijing’s concerns and coercive counterstrategy
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Military Strategy, Weapons , Missile Defense, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Sam-man Chung
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs threaten South Korea and its neighbors. Pyongyang’s engineers are likely capable of producing a warhead small enough to place it atop a missile. As its ability to engineer warheads for flight and reentry improves, North Korea increasingly endangers the United States. Deterring Pyongyang is extremely difficult given North Korea’s conventional, unconventional, and cyber capabilities. South Korean and American strategists have reponspded by developing a tailored deterrence strategy to address specific threats. At the operational level, this is supported by the Combined Counter-Provocation Plan. Ballistic missile defense, including the ability to detect, defend, disrupt, and destroy North Korea’s missiles, is critical to the success of the tailored deterrence strategy. South Korea opted to develop its Korean Air and Missile Defense and Kill Chain system. These systems are independent of American ballistic missile defense systems. The Korean systerms were conceived and developed amidst plans to transfer Wartime Operational Control from the U.S. to South Korea. Because transfer has been postponted, there is less rationale for maintaing separate systems. Despite the official desire to keep these systems independent, South Korea needs to develop options for enhancing interoperability with American missile defense systems to support the tailored deterrence strategy.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons , Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Gordon G. Chang
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Relations between China and North Korea have deteriorated during the last year, but Beijing has not fundamentally changed its approach toward its neighbor because that approach serves vital Chinese interests. If the regime of Kim Jong Un should look like it might fail—and there are several reasons why it could—Beijing’s leaders will undoubtedly do all they can to effect a rescue. The Chinese state, however, is not as stable or as capable as it appears, and it may not be in a position to lend needed assistance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Bilateral Relations, Authoritarianism, Political stability
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Troy Stangarone
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: When the next United States president is inaugurated on January 20, 2017, he or she may face one of the more challenging domestic political environments for international trade in the modern political era; at that time, the U.S. will need to make significant decisions regarding its economic relationship with East Asia, including South Korea. The most significant decision facing the next administration will be handling the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). While there is still time for the U.S. Congress to pass the TPP prior to the next administration taking office, it is increasingly likely that the next administration will have to grapple with either passing or renegotiating the Asia-Pacific-wide agreement, as well as determining how to bring South Korea into the region wide agreement. Bringing Korea into the TPP will further solidify the U.S.’ economic relationship with South Korea, enhancing efforts to move toward a free trade area within the Asia-Pacific. While South Korea’s accession to the TPP will likely be the next administration’s major economic objective, they should also work to strengthen the economic relationship with South Korea by deepening cooperation on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), cyber security, the digital economy, energy, and New Frontier issues.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Politics, Partnerships, Digital Economy, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Trade, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: East Asia, South Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Yonho Kim
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: North Korea’s nuclear tests in 2016 rekindled a stronger voice for independent nuclear armament among South Korean conservatives. It is noteworthy that the pro-nuclear view is mainly driven by feelings of profound frustration and helplessness over North Korea’s growing nuclear threat. To assuage concerns, Washington should start seeking new methods of reassuring its partner of its intention to honor its security commitments. The challenges to the U.S.-ROK alliance sparked by North Korea’s nuclear test also came from the liberals’ fierce criticism of the Park government’s decision to start talks with Washington on THAAD deployment. Opponents of THAAD emphasized potential “security anxiety” associated with THAAD deployment, which they argued would escalate regional tensions and introduce a new Cold War, endangering peace on the Korean Peninsula. The THAAD issue has become a political hot potato that could easily entrap major presidential candidates. To avoid any backlash, the candidates will refuse to choose between China and the U.S. while placing the alliance with the U.S. at the center of South Korea’s foreign policy.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: James F. Durand
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper assesses Japan’s role in Korean security using the quasialliance model. Developed by Professor Victor Cha, the quasi-alliance model to analyze the security relationship between Japan and the Republic of Korea, “two states that remain unallied despite sharing a common ally.” Cha defined the quasi-alliance model as “the triangular relationship between two states that are not allied, but share a third party as a common ally.” A key assumption is that the third state serves as the “great-power protector of the two states, and therefore exit opportunities for the two are limited.” While historical issues affected relations between Tokyo and Seoul, American security policies were the primary determinant of cooperation between Japan and Korea. American policy changes produced distinct “abandonment” or “entrapment” responses within the U.S.-Japan and U.S.-ROK security alliances: shared perceptions yielded cooperation, while differing views produced friction. This paper analyzes America’s East Asia policies during the Bush and Obama administrations to assess Japanese and Korean reactions. Analyzed through the quasi-alliance model, American policies produced asymmetric responses in Japan and Korea, inhibiting security cooperation between Tokyo and Seoul. Diverging views of China exacerbated inherent friction between Korea and Japan. Thus, Japan will play a limited role in Korean security.
  • Topic: Security, Grand Strategy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • 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: 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: WooJin Kang
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: What sources of information do individuals turn to in making the decision to participate in elections? Do the contextual factors matter in this decision? This study attempts to answer these important but understudied questions in electoral politics in emergent democracies. Based on the 2004 Korean legislative election, this study elucidates the relevance of the contextual model: in particular, the role of political discussions with others in explaining citizens' decisions to vote. The main findings of this study have implications for the future study of comparative political behavior.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: South Korea
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The purpose of this article is to examine recent Japanese-South Korean relations, with an emphasis on the analysis of major issues which have strained Tokyo-Seoul relations since the inauguration of the second Abe government in December 2012. It is a major contention of this article that the souring of recent Japanese-South Korean relations would be attributed largely to the Abe government's revisionist view of wartime history and partly to its attempt to nullify the "Kono Statement" of 1993, which admitted and apologized for Japan's guilt in the forceful recruitment of the "comfort women" before and during World War II, and the 1995 "Murayama statement" in which then-Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi expressed deep remorse and apologized to the victims of Japanese colonialism and militarism before and during World War II. Unless the Abe government discards its revisionist view of wartime history and agrees to abide by these landmark apologies, it will be difficult for Japan to develop close cooperation or partnership with South Korea.
  • Political Geography: South 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: 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: Bruce Klingner
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S.–South Korean security alliance has been indispensable in achieving Washington's strategic objectives and maintaining peace and stability in northeast Asia. A confluence of developments, however, is forcing changes in the alliance. These factors include a changing threat environment, an evolving U.S. military strategy, and South Korea's desire for greater autonomy as a result of its improving military and economic capabilities. It is important that the alliance begin the evolution from a singularly focused mission to a more robust values-based relationship that looks beyond the Korean Peninsula. Without substantial and sustained involvement by the senior political and military leadership, the alliance may not be sufficiently adapted to the new threat environment, including as a hedge against Chinese military modernization. The U.S. and South Korean administrations must also provide a clear strategic vision of the enduring need for the alliance and implement a robust public diplomacy program to prevent the erosion of public and legislative support. The plan to develop a U.S.–South Korean strategic alliance is a testament both to the successes of the long-standing military relationship and to the shared values of the two democracies.
  • Topic: Economics, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, South 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
  • Author: Choong Nam Kim
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The Republic of Korea (ROK) requires a new strategic vision and a workable new strategy befitting a changing security environment and changing national interests. Having been preoccupied with an engagement policy toward Pyongyang, South Korea seems to be lacking a long-term strategic vision beyond the peninsula. In other words, its national strategy is not well defined. Moreover, the South Korean people are sharply divided over their country's security and foreign policies.
  • Political Geography: South Korea, Pyongyang
  • Author: Yoon-Shik Park
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: In October 2006, North Korea (officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea or DPRK in short) tested a nuclear bomb based on plutonium, thus proclaiming it to be a full member of the select nuclear bomb club. Whether the test was a resounding success or not is still not fully resolved, and the status of North Korea's uranium enrichment program is yet to be admitted by the DPRK government. Faced with strong international condemnation and a movement towards punitive sanctions coordinated by the United Nations, DPRK reached an agreement at the six party talks on February 13, 2007, under which DPRK eventually agreed to abandon its nuclear programs in return for aid. The accord implements a deal reached in September 2005, but the talks had stalled until early 2007. Paradoxically, a nuclear North Korea may lead to successful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and robust economic developments there. As the DPRK regime feels confident enough in security terms now that it is recognized as a nuclear club member, it can enter into a “big deal” with its main opposing powers, the United States, Japan and South Korea, for swapping its nuclear weapons program for an iron-clad security guarantee and massive economic assistance for the modernization of the DPRK economy.
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Choong Nam Kim
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: South Korea (Korea hereafter) has represented one of the most successful cases in the history of nation building. The country, known as “an East Asian model of economic prosperity and political democracy,” emerged as a modern nation in a single generation and under the most trying circumstances—the legacy of colonial rule, national division, the Korean War and continual confrontation with the Communist North. Its success in nation building is extraordinary, not only in the history of this country, but also in comparison with other third world countries.
  • Political Geography: East Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Bruce E. Bechtol, Jr.
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The foreign policy issue regarding the ROK-US alliance that dominated the news headlines in South Korea for much of the spring and summer of 2006 focused on Wartime Operational Control (OPCON) of ROK and US forces and how this command and control relationship would change in coming years. Unfortunately, this issue has received almost no attention in the United States, where security concerns relating to other regions in the world have consistently dominated the headlines. In the view of the author, this has the potential to be extremely dangerous, as South Korea is Washington's 7th largest trading partner, a staunch and loyal ally for six decades, and a country that has become culturally, economically, and politically linked to many aspects of society in the United States.
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea