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  • Author: See-Won Byun
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: High-level interaction between Presidents Hu Jintao and Lee Myung-bak continues to intensify following the upgrading of the Sino-South Korean relationship to a “strategic cooperative partnership” in August of 2008. The increase in the number of meetings between top leaders is in part a by-product of the proliferation of regional forums in which China and South Korea both have membership and in part an affirmation of the rising importance of the relationship to both sides. This quarter Hu and Lee participated in the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Beijing in October as well as the G20 meeting in Washington and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Peru in November. Lee and Premier Wen Jiabao also met as part of the first trilateral meeting among Chinese, South Korean, and Japanese leaders held in Fukuoka in mid-December. In contrast, Chinese and North Korean leaders rarely meet these days, and Chinese officials confess ignorance regarding the health of Kim Jong-il despite being North Korea's closest of neighbors.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Beijing, Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa, Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's choice of Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, and China for her first official trip overseas helped shine a spotlight on Asia as a high priority region this quarter, as did North Korean Dear Leader Kim Jong-il's announcement that he intended to conduct a satellite launch in early April. The drama surrounding the anticipated launch provided an unfortunate back drop for otherwise very positive pronouncements about intended Obama administration policies in East Asia, even if the quarter closed with only a handful of those eventually to be tasked with implementing these policies at their desks. ASEAN leaders finally held their postponed summit and celebrated the entry into force of their much-maligned Charter. Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visited Washington to underscore that the U.S. and Australia are still “mates,” even as his reluctance to send more combat forces to Afghanistan foreshadowed the difficulty President Obama faces in getting allies to sign up for his “surge” there. Finally, economic forecasts kept being adjusted downward as Asian leaders prepared for the G20 summit in London in hopes that this would bring a turnaround.
  • Topic: Security, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Japan, China, Indonesia, Asia, South Korea, London, Australia
  • Author: Aidan Foster-Carter
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Looking back, it was a hostage to fortune to title our last quarterly review: “Things can only get better?” Even with that equivocating final question mark, this was too optimistic a take on relations between the two Koreas – which, as it turned out, not only failed to improve but deteriorated further in the first months of 2009. Nor was that an isolated trend. This was a quarter when a single event – or more exactly, the expectation of an event – dominated the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia more widely. Suspected since January, announced in February and awaited throughout March, despite all efforts to dissuade it North Korea's long-anticipated Taepodong launched on April 5. This too evoked a broader context, and a seeming shift in Pyongyang. Even by the DPRK's unfathomable logic, firing a big rocket – satellite or no – seemed a rude and perverse way to greet a new U.S. president avowedly committed to engagement with Washington's foes. Yet, no fewer than four separate senior private U.S. delegations, visiting Pyongyang in unusually swift succession during the past quarter, heard the same uncompromising message. Even veteran visitors who fancied they had good contacts found the usual access denied and their hosts tough-minded: apparently just not interested in an opportunity for a fresh start offered by a radically different incumbent of the White House.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea, Pyongyang
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Scott Snyder, See-Won Byun
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Top-level diplomacy between Beijing and Pyongyang intensified this quarter in honor of China-DPRK Friendship Year and the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Prior to the Lunar New Year holiday in mid-January, Kim Jong-il held his first public meeting since his reported illness with Chinese Communist Party International Liaison Department Head Wang Jiarui. In March, DPRK Prime Minister Kim Yong-il paid a return visit to Beijing. The Chinese have accompanied these commemorative meetings with active diplomatic interaction with the U.S., South Korea, and Japan focused on how to respond to North Korea's launch of a multi-stage rocket. Thus, China finds itself under pressure to dissuade Pyongyang from destabilizing activity and ease regional tensions while retaining its 60-year friendship with the North. Meanwhile, South Korean concerns about China's rise are no longer confined to issues of economic competitiveness; the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis has produced its first public assessment of the implications of China's rising economic capabilities for South Korea's long-term security policies. The response to North Korea's rocket launch also highlights differences in the respective near-term positions of Seoul and Beijing. Following years of expanding bilateral trade and investment ties, the global financial crisis provides new challenges for Sino-ROK economic relations: how to manage the fallout from a potential decline in bilateral trade and the possibility that domestic burdens will spill over and create new strains in the relationship.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Beijing, South Korea, North Korea, Korea, Pyongyang
  • Author: Aidan Foster-Carter
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The second quarter of 2009 saw North Korea make headlines around the world, as it likes to do. (On their leisurely train journey across Siberia toward Moscow in the summer of 2001, Kim Jong-il told his Russian host, Konstantin Pulikovsky: “'I am the object of criticism around the world. But I think that since I am being discussed, then I am on the right track.”) The quarter was neatly, perhaps deliberately, bookended by missile launches. On April 5 after a two month build-up, while the world watched the preparations via spy satellites, the DPRK finally fired its long-awaited Taepodong-2 long-range missile. Ostensibly this was to put a satellite in orbit – although neither the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) nor anyone else has managed to observe any new object soaring across the heavens. Meanwhile, relations between the South and North continued to deteriorate as interaction became more caustic and the stakes higher. By the end of the quarter, the rest of the world watched again as the North launched more missiles.
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: April 2, 2009: Guo Boxiong, vice chairperson of the Central Military Commission, meets Teo Chee Han, Singaporean deputy prime minister and minister of defense, in Beijing. They agree to raise the level of military-related exchanges and visits, personnel and military training, and increased cooperation in defense consultation. April 2, 2009: Lt. Gen. Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), meets senior defense scholars and representatives from ASEAN member countries attending the China-ASEAN Dialogue 2009 to discuss deepening regional defense cooperation. April 8, 2009: Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie receives Nguyen Van Duoc, vice defense minister from Vietnam, to discuss bilateral military ties and future prospects for strengthening military exchanges. April 8, 2009: Hu Zhengyue, assistant foreign minister, expresses concern over the demonstrations and protests in Thailand and expresses confidence that the Thai government will ensure safety for visiting leaders during the ASEAN Plus 3 meetings. April 10, 2009: Gao Hucheng, China's vice commerce minister, announces that ASEAN is likely to replace Japan as China's third largest trading partner in the near future. April 12, 2009: Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi announces a multi-billion dollar aid and credit extension package to ASEAN countries during a meeting with the 10 foreign envoys from ASEAN member countries posted in Beijing. April 16, 2009: According to Chinese press statements, the Maritime Safety Bureau announces that it has sent at least six patrol vessels to the South China Sea in recent weeks and that such patrols are legal and within China's exclusive economic zone. April 20, 2009: Chen Bingde, chief of the general staff of the PLA, meets Tin Aye, member of Myanmar's State Peace and Development Council. Both sides agree to forge close communication and cooperation to help maintain regional stability. April 24, 2009: China and Singapore sign a memorandum of understanding on education cooperation.
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Scott Snyder, See-Won Byun
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: North Korea's missile launch on April 5 and nuclear test on May 25 posed a test to the international community following two UN Security Council resolutions in 2006 condemning North Korea's actions. For China, the tests again highlighted the tensions between its emerging role as a global actor with increasing international responsibilities and prestige and a commitment to North Korea as an ally with whom China shares longstanding historical and ideological ties. On June 12, China voted in favor of UN Security Council Resolution 1874 condemning North Korea's nuclear test, banning sales of nuclear and missile-related technology and heavy weapons to North Korea, authorizing financial sanctions against companies involved with North Korea's missile and nuclear programs, and authorizing the implementation of an inspections regime for suspect shipments into and out of North Korea. China now must decide whether it will actively implement the resolution. As a result of North Korea's declining trade with South Korea and the international community, China's economic leverage with North Korea has grown. But it is unclear whether China will utilize such leverage given strategic concerns about regional stability and the impact on the political succession process now underway in Pyongyang.
  • Political Geography: China, South Korea, North Korea, Korea, Pyongyang
  • Author: Aidan Foster-Carter
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Dealing with North Korea resembles the board game Snakes Ladders (known in the U.S. as Chutes Ladders). The first half of this year was an especially long snake/chute. Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests, and its general bellicosity, not only undid last year's slight gains in the Six-Party Talks (6PT), but were a strange way to greet an incoming U.S. president avowedly committed to exploring engagement with Washington's traditional foes. But what goes down must, eventually, come up, even if each time some may fear it is a case of – to change the spatial metaphor – one step forward, two steps back. As of autumn, things on the peninsula are looking up somewhat – at least relatively, if not in any absolute sense.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea