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  • Author: Victor D. Cha, Ellen Kim
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The second quarter saw a series of major events in US-ROK relations. With the sinking of the Cheonan in late March, the quarter saw the possible return to armed conflict in Korea. The North Korean torpedo attack on the South Korean warship caused the two Koreas to break ties, intensified the tension along the border, and blasted hopes for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. Meanwhile, the US-ROK alliance was at its zenith as the US showed solidarity with South Korea on its response to the provocation and put pressure on China to support a strong UN Security Council measure identifying North Korea as being responsible for the attack. The two presidents announced a delay in transfer of wartime operational control and President Obama, in a surprise announcement on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Toronto, called for ratification of the KORUS FTA. Though these two developments were not a direct result of the Cheonan sinking, they were influenced by a desire by both allies to show strong, deep partnership in the face of North Korean threats, and perhaps more important, by a personal chemistry between the two leaders that is unique in the history of the alliance.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, South Korea, North Korea, Korea, Toronto
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Korea
  • Author: Scott Snyder
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The March 26 sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in the West Sea that killed 46 soldiers served as the backdrop for a series of high-level exchanges between China and the two Koreas as China came under international pressure to provide a tough response to the incident. Kim Jong-il paid an “unofficial” visit to China on May 3-7 and met President Hu Jintao in Beijing, days after ROK President Lee Myung-bak's summit with Hu. Kim's delegation included senior officials from the Foreign Ministry, Worker's Party of Korea, and the DPRK Cabinet. Lee attended the April 30 opening ceremony of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, where President Hu also met the DPRK's top legislator Kim Yong Nam. Lee and Hu held another round of bilateral talks on the sidelines of the G20 Summit on June 26 in Toronto, where they pledged to strengthen the China-ROK strategic cooperative partnership despite unresolved tensions over North Korea. Premier Wen Jiabao paid a three-day visit to South Korea on May 28-30 and met President Lee in Seoul prior to the third China-ROK-Japan trilateral meeting in Jeju. Foreign Ministers Yu Myung-hwan and Yang Jiechi also held talks on the sidelines of the fourth trilateral foreign ministers meeting with Japan on May 15-16 in Gyeongju.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, North Korea, 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
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Jan. 1, 2009: Hu Jintao and Kim Jong-il exchange New Year messages and pledge closer China-DPRK ties. Jan. 2, 2009: ROK Ministry of Strategy and Finance says South Korea will implement anti-dumping duties on Chinese and Taiwanese polyester yarn for the next three years. Jan. 5, 2009: ROK Unification Ministry says the current slowdown in North Korean defectors to South Korea is partly due to tightened border controls in China. Jan. 5, 2009: SAIC injects $45 million into Ssangyong and resumes negotiations with Korea Development Bank over a possible restructuring plan. Jan. 7, 2009: The Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention heightens bird flu warnings after a teenager in Beijing is suspected of dying from the virus on Jan. 6. Jan. 9, 2009: China's Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue visits Pyongyang to discuss 60th anniversary-related exchanges. Jan. 9, 2009: Ssangyong Motor Co. files for court protection from creditors. The board reconvenes in Shanghai to finalize restructuring plans. Jan. 9-12, 2009: A Chinese Foreign Ministry delegation visits Pyongyang for 60th anniversary celebrations of China-DPRK diplomatic relations. Jan. 11, 2009: The North Korean consulate general in Shenyang opens its branch office in Dandong city bordering North Korea.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Korea
  • Author: Ji-Young Lee, David C. Kang
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The first three months of 2009 saw Japan-North Korea relations go from stalemate to hostility, as North Korea's “satellite” launch on April 5 heightened tensions throughout Northeast Asia. As Pyongyang tried to goad its partners in the Six-Party Talks (the new Obama administration in particular) to induce more favorable terms, Tokyo took steps that may have more far-reaching implications for regional security than merely a plan to deal with the current North Korean missile crisis. Meanwhile, Tokyo and Seoul continued to focus on a practical partnership for economic cooperation and stayed on good terms. The highlight of the quarter was Prime Minister Aso's successful two-day visit to South Korea in mid-January for a summit with President Lee Myung-bak. Although historical issues lingered as a potential factor that might challenge and disrupt this mood of détente, Japan-South Korea relations improved due in no small part to the Lee administration's tough policy toward Pyongyang.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Japan, North Korea, Tokyo, Korea, Pyongyang
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Jan. 5, 2009: South Korea's Coast Guard says that it will build a special pier in Ulleung Island to respond rapidly to an emergency on the Dokdo/Takeshima islets. Jan. 11, 2009: Prime Minister Aso Taro and President Lee Myung-bak hold a meeting in Seoul with business leaders of the two countries. Jan. 12, 2009: PM Aso and President Lee meet at South Korea's Blue House and agree to promote bilateral cooperation. Jan. 15, 2009: Kim Hyun-hee says in her interview with Japan's NHK that she is certain that Takuchi Yaeko is alive in North Korea and expresses her desire to meet with the Takuchi family. Jan. 29, 2009: Japanese and South Korean top negotiators for the Six-Party Talks, Saiki Akitaka and Kim Sook, discuss the denuclearization of North Korea. Japan-Korea Relations 124 April 2009 Jan. 31, 2009: China's official Xinhua News reports that South Korean, Japanese, and Chinese astronomers will collaborate to build a 6,000 km-diameter radio telescope, which will be the world's largest in its scale. Feb. 11, 2009: Japan's Foreign Minister Nakasone Hirofumi meets Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan in Seoul and they agree to deepen the bilateral cooperation.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Japan, Korea
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The year of 2009, which marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Russia, unfolded with a series of high-profile interactions. The “Year of Russian Language” in China was launched, which is to be reciprocated by Russia's “Year of Chinese language” in 2010. An oil pipeline is finally to be built from Skovorodino to northeast China 15 years after its initial conception. The two militaries were engaged in the first round of talks for joint exercises to be held in July-August. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization held its first special session on Afghanistan as it officially reached out to NATO. Meanwhile, top leaders and senior diplomats were busy coordinating policies regarding the financial crisis and growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. All of this, however, could hardly conceal a sense of uneasiness, particularly from the Chinese side, about the sinking in mid-February of a Chinese cargo ship by the Russian Coast Guard near Vladivostok. While Beijing requested a thorough and timely investigation, Moscow seemed more interested in a weapons smuggling case allegedly involving top Russian naval officers.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, China, Beijing, Moscow, Korea
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: April 1, 2009: The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s state radio accuses U.S. RC-135 surveillance aircraft of spying on the launch site on its northeast coast and threatens to shoot it down. The DPRK also vows to wage war against Japan if it tries to shoot down a missile that the DPRK says will carry a communications satellite. April 2, 2009: Reuters reports that President Barack Obama told President Lee Myung-bak that he wants to make progress on a free trade deal between the two countries.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Korea