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  • Author: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The new national security leaders in Japan, the United States, China and the two Koreas have assumed office at a precarious time. Despite the recent relaxation of tensions, conditions are ripe for further conflict in Northeast Asia. The new DPRK leadership is as determined as its predecessor to possess nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles while resisting unification or reconciliation with South Korea and its allies. The new government in Tokyo is also augmenting its military capabilities. Meanwhile, despite Chinese efforts to restart the Six-Party Talks, the Obama administration has refused to engage with the DPRK until it demonstrates a willingness to end its nuclear weapons program and improving intra-Korean ties. But this policy of patiently waiting for verifiable changes in DPRK policies may be too passive in the face of North Korea' s growing military capabilities, leading the new South Korean government, striving to maneuver between Beijing and Washington, to consider new initiatives to restart a dialogue with the North even while reinforcing its own military capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: 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