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  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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