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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: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The end of President Barack Obama's first term provides an opportunity to assess what the administration's "strategic rebalancing" toward and within the Asia-Pacific region (sometimes called the "Asian Pivot" or "Back to Asia" policy) has accomplished as well as what challenges and unmet opportunities remain. The administration has launched several successful multinational diplomatic initiatives in the region to supplement U.S. bilateral ties with key Asian partners; relations with ASEAN have clearly improved. The economic dimension of the Pivot has made progress as seen by the growth of support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. U.S. efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Asia have proved far less successful, except perhaps for Myanmar, where the political transition remains a work in progress. The U.S. military has managed to establish a broader presence in the region, especially in Australia and Southeast Asia. U.S. officials have sought to impart new energy into the five existing formal U.S. bilateral defense alliances in Asia--with Australia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, and South Korea. But the main problem with the pivot has been the inability to overcome Chinese anxiety about U.S. rebalancing, which has complicated their cooperation over North Korea and other issues. Fortunately, relations between the United States and South Korea are also strong. The ROK is becoming an important U.S. partner in several dimensions of the Pivot, though ROK-U.S. differences over North Korea might emerge with the advent of a new government in Seoul.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, Australia, Thailand
  • Author: Celeste Arrington
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Nearly all foreign nationals allegedly abducted by North Korea (DPRK) were Japanese or South Korean citizens. Suspected abductees' families mobilized in Japan and South Korea in the late 1990s to raise awareness of the abductions, seek information about their loved ones, and hold their own governments responsible for not having protected citizens. But public and political concern for abductee and their families has differed greatly in Japan and South Korea (ROK). The abductions have dominated Japanese public consciousness and policymakers' decisions regarding North Korea for the past decade, since the late Kim Jong-il admitted North Korean involvement in the abductions of thirteen Japanese nationals. Although more than five hundred South Korean abductees remain detained in North Korea, the abductions issue has received less attention in South Korea. What accounts for such variation in the trajectories of the abductions issue and related activism in Japan and South Korea? This article posits that the divergence in the efficacy of families' activism in Japan and South Korea is the product of families' interactions with each country's distinctive media and activist spheres. Thus, this article elucidates key features of the Japanese and Korean public spheres that affect each country's North Korea policy.
  • Topic: Mass Media, Political Activism
  • Political Geography: Japan, 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
  • Author: Yoon-Shik Park
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: In October 2006, North Korea (officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea or DPRK in short) tested a nuclear bomb based on plutonium, thus proclaiming it to be a full member of the select nuclear bomb club. Whether the test was a resounding success or not is still not fully resolved, and the status of North Korea's uranium enrichment program is yet to be admitted by the DPRK government. Faced with strong international condemnation and a movement towards punitive sanctions coordinated by the United Nations, DPRK reached an agreement at the six party talks on February 13, 2007, under which DPRK eventually agreed to abandon its nuclear programs in return for aid. The accord implements a deal reached in September 2005, but the talks had stalled until early 2007. Paradoxically, a nuclear North Korea may lead to successful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and robust economic developments there. As the DPRK regime feels confident enough in security terms now that it is recognized as a nuclear club member, it can enter into a “big deal” with its main opposing powers, the United States, Japan and South Korea, for swapping its nuclear weapons program for an iron-clad security guarantee and massive economic assistance for the modernization of the DPRK economy.
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Jae-Kap Ryoo
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Is the ROK-U.S. alliance relationship in crisis or at a turning point where it can be transformed into a more resilient alliance? Is there simply a semantic debate raising questions at the moment or is the alliance suffering a real crisis? Most observers worry about the alliance's future, and many experts consider that the alliance relationship is in a transitional period: to be redefined and restructured to meet new requirements for the 21st century on the Korean peninsula and in the Asia-Pacific region more generally. At present, the Republic of Korea and the United States need to prepare for the future. In light of various challenges to their security alliance, future prospects do not seem bright. This article is an attempt to do three things: to analyze various challenges to the ROK-U.S. alliance relationship and to consider the strategic implications for the future of the alliance in the Asia-Pacific region; to explore more effective ways to develop a new relationship for the 21st century; and to search for a more appropriate method to make the alliance “unique” in the Asia-Pacific while remaining comparable with the U.S.-Japan alliance and other treaty relationships.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Korea
  • Author: Han-Kyo Kim
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to describe the national independence movement of the Korean residents in the United States and Hawaii before 1945, with emphasis on the roles played by its three most prominent leaders, Syngman Rhee, An Ch'ang-ho and Pak Yong-man. The first shipload of Korean immigrants came to Hawaii in 1903, largely for economic reasons. In the ensuing years, as Japan steadily made inroads into Korea, however, patriotic sentiments seized the Korean community. With the formal installation of the Japanese colonial regime in 1910, the restoration of sovereignty in their homeland became the primary political agenda of the Korea immigrants.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Korea, Hawaii
  • Author: Taeho Kim
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The future of China-Japan relations will have a decisive impact on post-Cold War East Asia's economic and political order. Japan and China embody the world's second- and, by PPP-based calculations, third-largest economies, respectively, and wield growing political clout in regional affairs. Militarily, despite the different nature and sources of their national power, both countries are the major factors to be reckoned with in any East Asian strategic equation.
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, East Asia
  • Author: Shalendra D. Sharma
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: In 1950, Korea was among the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita income of under US$150.1 Ravaged by a brutal war between 1950-53, a divided Korea was predicted to remain a "basketcase" for the foreseeable future. However, South Korea (hereafter Korea), defied the dire predictions — becoming in less than a generation the quintessential developmental success story — and a model for other developing countries to emulate. With the exception of a relatively short-lived recession in 1979-80, Korea enjoyed continuous economic growth between 1960 and 1997. With the economy expanding at an annual rate of over 8%, Korea's per capita income grew to US$10,973 by mid-1997, earning it membership in the exclusive OCED (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development) group of nations.2 Already the world's eleventh largest economy in 1996, Korea publicly stated its ambition to outperform Japan technologically in the new millennium. Indeed, as the world's largest supplier of computer memory chips, the second largest shipbuilder, the third largest producer of semiconductors, the fourth largest maker of electronics and the fifth largest automobile maker, Korea hardly made an idle boast in its ambition.
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Chang-Il Ohn
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Immediately before the Japanese surrender in the Pacific War (1941-5), there was one Korea, though it had been under Japanese colonial rule for 36 years. The 38th parallel, which the American policymakers hastily picked out as the operational boundary between U.S. and Soviet troops in the Far East at the last stage of the Pacific War, divided one Korea into the two, North and South.1 Soviet troops occupied North Korea, Americans entered the South, and the two sides began military occupation in the two Koreas. The latitude, which Washington policymakers conceived to be a temporary line to halt the further southward advance of Soviet troops and thereby physically eliminate the possibility of Soviet participation in the Japanese occupation, and to facilitate the process of establishing a Korean government "in due course," however, began to embrace new political and military connotations. The two Koreas, even on a temporary basis, thus appeared. The status of and situations in the two Koreas were almost the same at the beginning of the military occupations. In both parts of Korea, people were very poor mainly because of the harsh Japanese mobilization for conducting the Pacific War. There were neither major factories, nor organized indigenous troops, nor influential political groups except the strong popular desire to establish a Korean government right away. Almost every well-informed Korean had a distinctive idea about the future of Korea and the nature of its government. As a result, "too many" political organizations and parties were formed, and, especially, the American military government judged that the Koreans were "too much" politicized. All in all, the situations in the two parts of Korea were almost identical as much as the status of being the occupied. The policies and strategies of the two occupiers—the United States and the Soviet Union—toward Korea, however, were different. Despite the wartime agreement with the United States that Korea should be independent "in due course," which meant that a Korean government should be established after the period of multinational trusteeship, the Soviet Union was not enthusiastic about the idea of multi-tutorship for Korea. Instead, the Soviet authority was busy in communizing the northern half of Korea, trying to make it a stronghold for securing the entire Korean peninsula. The Chief Soviet Delegate, Colonel General T. F. Shtykov, made it clear, at the Joint Commission convened in Seoul on March 20, 1946, that Korea should be "loyal to the Soviet Union, so that it will not become a base for an attack on the Soviet Union" in the future.2 This Soviet position was directly contrary to the primary objective of the United States in Korea, that is, "to prevent Russian domination of Korea."3 Unable to find a compromised solution on Korea through the Joint Commission, the United States internationalized the Korean issue by turning it over to the United Nations. The Soviet Union, however, did not accept the U.N. resolution that a Korean government would be established through holding a general election throughout Korea, and the Soviet authority in North Korea rejected the entry of U.N. representatives. As a result, the two Korean governments were created, one in the South blessed by the United Nations and the other in the North brewed by the Soviet Union, in August and September 1948 respectively.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, America, Washington, South Korea, North Korea, Soviet Union, Korea