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  • Author: Bruce Bennett
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States have maintained a strong security alliance for 60 years. Throughout that period, North Korea has posed continuing threats that have evolved significantly in recent years. Because North Korea is a failing state, the ROK and the United States must seek to deter, and, if necessary, defeat a range of North Korean challenges, from provocations to major war. They must also be prepared to deal with a North Korean government collapse. All of these challenges potentially involve a ROK/US offensive into North Korea to unify Korea, with significantly different force requirements than the historical defense of Seoul.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The new national security leaders in Japan, the United States, China and the two Koreas have assumed office at a precarious time. Despite the recent relaxation of tensions, conditions are ripe for further conflict in Northeast Asia. The new DPRK leadership is as determined as its predecessor to possess nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles while resisting unification or reconciliation with South Korea and its allies. The new government in Tokyo is also augmenting its military capabilities. Meanwhile, despite Chinese efforts to restart the Six-Party Talks, the Obama administration has refused to engage with the DPRK until it demonstrates a willingness to end its nuclear weapons program and improving intra-Korean ties. But this policy of patiently waiting for verifiable changes in DPRK policies may be too passive in the face of North Korea' s growing military capabilities, leading the new South Korean government, striving to maneuver between Beijing and Washington, to consider new initiatives to restart a dialogue with the North even while reinforcing its own military capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Sue Mi Terry
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Pyongyang under the Kim dynasty has pursued three broad and consistent strategic goals: (1) The pursuit of nuclear weapons program in order to gain international acceptance of the North as a bona fide nuclear weapons state; (2) securing a peace treaty in an effort to remove U.S. forces from the Korean Peninsula; and, (3) reunification with South Korea on its own terms—the ultimate if increasingly unrealistic objective. To achieve these goals, the North has followed a policy of brinksmanship with the U.S. and South Korea: provoke when Washington or Seoul seem preoccupied, up the ante in the face of international condemnation, and pivot back to a peace offensive, which usually ends with some form of dialogue and negotiation, culminating, finally, in concessions for the North. This article reviews in detail how such policies have been pursued by Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un. It shows that, while there have been changes in North Korean policy, they have been primarily tactical not strategic—the North has changed how it pursues its goals (sometimes using military forces, at other times covert actions, or even negotiations), but it has remained consistent in its objectives. Not even the regime's literal bankruptcy has convinced the regime to change course, and for good reason: such brinkmanship tactics have paid off for the North by making possible the regime's survival for more than sixty years. Kim Jong-un, accordingly, has continued this strategy. This article ends by suggesting how the U.S. and South Korea should deal with the North's militaristic foreign policy. In brief, the two allies need to break the cycle of provocation by making clear they will no longer reward North Korea's destabilizing behavior while pursuing a longer-term goal of their own.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington, South Korea, North Korea, Korea, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Captain Sukjoon Yoon
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Regional maritime security has clearly wanted improved structures and mechanisms since early 2010. In 2011 Dr. Sam Bateman published an article, "Solving the 'Wicked Problems' of Maritime Security: Are Regional Forums up to the Task?" identifying a number of intractable problems. Recently, Bateman's list has been overshadowed by a variety of new 'wicked problems' and all parties continue to dig the hole deeper. These new issues faced by the East Asian nations include: the impact of domestic politics upon maritime security, the difficulty of striking a balance between the US and China, the struggle for self-reliant defense through rearming, the dearth of alternative models for maritime cooperation, the blurring of operational roles between navies and coastguards, and the reluctance to turn to legal mechanisms of dispute resolution. In Bateman's original exposition, the 'wicked problems' were directly applicable to current maritime security, but denoted some negative outlook. This paper is hopeful that the nations of the region might be willing to put the past behind them, so that some of the mounting catalog of issues can be resolved. If effective solutions are ever to be found, then the nations in dispute will inevitably have to adopt a more flexible mindset and break out of the perilous and unproductive cycles of action and reaction. The key aim of this paper is to identify trust-building strategies through which the nations of the region can mitigate their quarrels and collaborate in solving the challenges of regional maritime security, including both old and new 'wicked problems'.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, China, East Asia
  • Author: Bruce Klingner
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Shaken by North Korea's two deadly attacks in 2010, the Lee Myungbak Administration recalibrated ongoing defense reform plans to enable South Korea's military to protect the country more effectively. President Lee's Defense Reform 307 plan sought to redress many of South Korea's security shortcomings, but Seoul remained hampered by demographic and fiscal constraints. Indeed, questions remained as to whether the government would fully fund South Korea's defense needs, defense budget shortfalls having delayed previous reform efforts. However, South Korea does not bear its security burden alone and its alliance with the United States will continue to play an irreplaceable role in maintaining peace and stability throughout East Asia. Washington should therefore continue to ensure South Korea's security through robust U.S. military deployments in the Pacifica and with an extended deterrence guarantee. While North Korean threats will remain the paramount focus of the U.S.-South Korean alliance, neither country should lose sight of the benefits of Seoul's "going global" with its political, economic, and military capabilities.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Korea
  • Author: Yoon-Shik Park
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Four and a half years after the agreement between the U.S and Korean governments, the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA or KORUS) was finally approved by both the U.S. Congress and the Korean Parliament in late 2011 and has been in effect since March 15, 2012. KORUS is the most important free trade agreement for the U.S. since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that came into force in 1994. Korea has become an important trade partner of the United States, for which Korea is the 7th largest trading partner, 5th largest export market for agricultural products, 2nd largest market for U.S. services in Asia, and 10th largest market for information technology products. The total U.S.-Korea trade volume tripled over just two decades between 1990 and 2011. However, the relative importance of two countries' bilateral trade has declined in recent decades. This trendline decline is expected to be reversed in the coming years because of the KORUS. Several studies have been conducted to estimate the potential effects of KORUS. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) study in 2007 estimated that U.S. GDP would increase by $10 to $12 billion (about 0.1%) and U.S. exports would rise by $9.7 billion to $10.9 billion, if KORUS were fully implemented. A University of Michigan study, commissioned by the Korea Economic Institute, estimated that U.S. GDP would increase by $25 billion (0.14% of GDP). This estimate was larger than the US ITC result, in part because the study included the effects of liberalization in services trade. The Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) estimated the potential economic impact of KORUS on Korea's economy. The study concluded that KORUS would lead to an increase of 0.42% to 0.59% in Korean GDP according to a static analysis and 1.99% to 2.27% according to a dynamic analysis. A study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2009 found that America would suffer a net loss of more than 345,000 jobs, $35 billion in lost export sales and U.S. GDP failing to grow by $40 billion, if KORUS were NOT implemented while the European Union and Canada moved forward to implement FTAs with Korea.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Korea
  • Author: Hugo Wheegook Kim
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: There is a vast literature that examines the American containment approach to communism throughout the Cold War era. However, few authors focus on the flip side of U.S. Cold War policy: constraint. In addition to their distaste for communism, Americans also feared "rogue" anti-communist allies dragging the U.S. into a larger-scale war with their common communist enemies. This fear especially applied to the South Korean authoritarian state under Syngman Rhee, who harnessed rabid anti-communism both to legitimize his rule and to try to embroil the U.S. in further conflict on the Korean peninsula. In order to exercise greater influence over such "rogue allies" as Syngman Rhee's South Korea, the U.S. opted to pursue strong bilateral alliances in East Asia, where they feared entrapment the most. As a result, solid relationships like the U.S.-ROK alliance came to dominate the East Asian security architecture, leaving little space for East Asian multilateralism to take root.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, East Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korean Peninsula
  • Author: William W. Stueck, Jr.
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The North Korean attack on June 25, 1950 probably could have been avoided had the United States made a greater effort to signal a readiness to resist it by force. The United States failed to engage in such an effort due to strategic considerations, bureaucratic and domestic politics, and the decision-making model employed by President Harry S Truman, in which the commander-in-chief was relatively disengaged on foreign policy issues until the point of crisis was reached.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The Korean War was not inevitable. Neither was its scope and impact. Decisions by the U.S. government, and particularly the administration of Harry S Truman, made both division and war likely on the Korean peninsula. Had the U.S. reacted differently during the conflict, combat would have ended much earlier or expanded more widely. As always, hindsight clarifies. Some adverse consequences were more predictable than others. Policymakers operating in real time with limited information will always face a difficult challenge. However, several decisions surrounding the Korean War were based on a deeply flawed understanding of the facts or an equally flawed prediction of the consequences of particular actions. This article considers the merits of ten of the most consequential decisions made by U.S. policymakers affecting the onset and course of the Korean War.
  • Political Geography: United States, Korea, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Mel Gurtov
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The wars in Korea and Vietnam were of a piece, directly related by virtue of U.S. global strategy and China's security concerns. This article, focusing mainly on the U.S. side in these wars, argues that three characteristics of American policy had enduring meaning for the rest of the Cold War and even beyond: the official mindsets that led to U.S. involvement, the centrality of the China threat in American decision making, and the common legacy of intervention against nationalism and in support of authoritarian regimes.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Asia, Vietnam, Korea