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  • Author: Elton J. Chun
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United States and the Republic of Korea concluded the 10th Special Measures Agreement on February 10, 2019. The two countries agreed to a one-year agreement after difficult negotiations in which Washington demanded that Seoul increase the amount paid to offset the costs of stationing American forces in Korea. Since 1991, Washington and Seoul have concluded 10 Special Measures Agreements. Unlike the previous five-year agreement, the 10th SMA was a “stopgap deal” that covered a one year of bilateral defense budgets with an option of extending the agreement for an additional year; it was the first SMA negotiated by the Trump administration. This article examines the 10th Special Measures Agreement, exploring the history of defense cost sharing between the two countries, effects on South Korea, implications for coordinating policy on North Korea, and influences on Japan, Russia, and China. The article concludes with an assessment on how the 10th Special Measures Agreement and other factors will affect future agreements.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Armed Forces
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Gordon G. Chang
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: China has great power over both Koreas, but its influence looks to be at its peak. There are many reasons for this, but the most important is that the two Koreas are moving closer together and in the process shutting out outsiders. Moreover, the U.S., as it seeks to disarm North Korea, is pursuing policies undercutting Beijing’s role on the peninsula. And to make matters worse, China is beginning to limit its own effectiveness.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Kyle Ferrier
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: South Korea is at a critical crossroads. The future of the liberal international order, a major source of strength for Seoul, is unclear. President Donald Trump has repudiated the longstanding American role of upholding the liberal order. While Beijing has been quick to capitalize on this policy shift, the norms China seeks to promote either fall short of or run counter to the advancement of an open and rules-based international system. Although South Korea may be caught between these two great powers, it is by no means powerless to influence how international economic norms are advanced. To best meet its economic and even strategic interests, the Moon administration should begin negotiations to have South Korea join the remaining countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as the CPTPP.
  • Topic: International Relations, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Trans-Pacific Partnership, Free Trade, Regionalism, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Gary J. Sampson
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: In 2017, North Korea under Kim Jong-un has made significant strides toward the capabilities needed for a credible nuclear deterrent. This article analyzes the most recent achievements of the North Korean nuclear weapons program, including its September 2017 nuclear test and its three long-range missile tests in the latter half of 2017. Observers should not discount Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. However, other capabilities such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and targeting require further development to achieve the full range of capabilities associated with a credible nuclear deterrent. Because of the high costs associated with the development of robust strategic intelligence and targeting capabilities, Pyongyang may be willing to settle for lower levels of capability in these areas, which may still be sufficient to guide nuclear attacks. As a result, policymakers must move to a bargaining strategy that acknowledges the reality of North Korea’s nuclear capability, marking a significant policy shift among regional allies. Pyongyang’s long-held desire to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its regional allies may be coming to fruition. Kim Jong-un has shrewdly played his hand from a position of weakness and succeeded where many others failed—a high-risk path upon which he still walks. China’s minimum credible nuclear deterrent may be a model for Kim Jong-un’s development of North Korean nuclear capability.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Nuclear Weapons, Surveillance, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Noam Hartoch, Alon Levkowitz
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests during the Kim Jong-un era have strengthened the country’s military power, deterring South Korea, Japan and, in particular, the United States. While North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities are rapidly improving, parallel developments aren’t occurring in the traditionally technical air and air defense forces. Plagued with aging airframes, technical problems, parts shortages and budget shortfalls, the North Korean Air Force no longer challenges the South Korean and American air forces. This paper examines the North Korean Air Force, analyzing its organization and deployment, air defense and early warning capabilities, aircraft acquisition, and aircraft production. Shortfalls in each of these areas caused Pyongyang to develop, test, and operate an increasingly sophisticated drone fleet. While North Korea won’t be able to build a state-of-the-art aircraft industry, it will nonetheless find creative ways to strengthen its air force capabilities.
  • Topic: Nuclear Power, Weapons , Drones, Missile Defense, Air Force
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, South Korea, North Korea, Poland, Soviet Union, New Zealand, United States of America
  • Author: Gordon G. Chang
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: China is playing a duplicitous game when it comes to North Korea. It proclaims it is enforcing Security Council resolutions when it is in fact not. The Chinese have overwhelming leverage over the North, but they will not use their power to disarm the Kim Family regime, at least in the absence of intense pressure from the United States. Beijing believes Pyongyang furthers important short-term Chinese objectives, and so views it as a weapon against Washington and others. Beijing’s attempts to punish Seoul over its decision to accept deployment of the THAAD missile defense system reveal true intentions.
  • Topic: Sanctions, Authoritarianism, Weapons , Missile Defense, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: George Hutchinson
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United States-Republic of Korea Alliance has arrived at a critical juncture. In July 2016, the countries jointly decided to deploy the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense system to the Korean Peninsula to defend against North Korea’s accelerating nuclear and ballistic missile programs. China has long opposed an American-led, regional missile defense system, persistently warning South Korea against deploying THAAD. Since the deciding to deploy THAAD, the political landscapes in the U.S. and the ROK have changed dramatically. The new Donald J. Trump administration has signaled a change from the previous administration’s “strategic patience” policy, but details of the new approach have yet to emerge. North Korea, meanwhile, continues to aggressively test ballistic missiles and promote its nuclear weapons program. In South Korea, the impeachment and subsequent removal of Park Geun-hye triggered the need for a snap election, and a left-leaning candidate, Moon Jae-in, is leading in the polls. The election could mark a return of previous liberal administration policies that favored cooperation with North Korea. Additionally, Moon has signaled his opposition to THAAD. Nonetheless, the U.S. began deploying THAAD to South Korea in March 2017. China retaliated, implementing a series of economic, political, and military measures to pressure South Korea. This paper provides background on THAAD, analyzes the decision by Washington and Seoul to deploy the system to Korea, and examines Beijing’s concerns and coercive counterstrategy
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Military Strategy, Weapons , Missile Defense, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Gordon G. Chang
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Relations between China and North Korea have deteriorated during the last year, but Beijing has not fundamentally changed its approach toward its neighbor because that approach serves vital Chinese interests. If the regime of Kim Jong Un should look like it might fail—and there are several reasons why it could—Beijing’s leaders will undoubtedly do all they can to effect a rescue. The Chinese state, however, is not as stable or as capable as it appears, and it may not be in a position to lend needed assistance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Bilateral Relations, Authoritarianism, Political stability
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Kim Taewoo
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test on January 6, 2016, the February 2 test launch of the Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite (which in fact was a longrange missile), and other provocative activities amply reminded the international community of the reasons for strong and consistent sanctions. Such activities again proved the Kim Family Regime (KFR) will not accept voluntary changes or engage in denuclearization dialogue. Instead, the regime declared de facto "Nuclear-First Politics," thus ruling out the possibility of denuclearization. If the KFR is allowed to continue unhampered nuclear weapons development, it will become a nuclear power with over 50 nuclear weapons within a decade. Its weapons will include atomic bombs, boosted fission bombs, and hydrogen bombs. The KFR will also possess increasingly formidable delivery vehicles, such as Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. This situation must be a nightmare particularly to South Korea. However, the current international sanctions headed by the UNSCR 2270, along with unilateral sanctions, are unlikely to bear fruit in the foreseeable future due to China’s conflicting policies. Beijing’s attitude towards North Korean nuclear program has alternated between ‘pressure and connivance;’ its military relationship with the United States determining China’s position on sanctions. China’s alternating position prevents effective sanctions against North Korea. While the international community should endeavor to make sanctions concerted, strong and consistent, South Korea and the U.S. should think about a Plan B that includes presenting China the threat of nuclear proliferation in East Asia.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Sanctions, Nonproliferation, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: James F. Durand
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper assesses Japan’s role in Korean security using the quasialliance model. Developed by Professor Victor Cha, the quasi-alliance model to analyze the security relationship between Japan and the Republic of Korea, “two states that remain unallied despite sharing a common ally.” Cha defined the quasi-alliance model as “the triangular relationship between two states that are not allied, but share a third party as a common ally.” A key assumption is that the third state serves as the “great-power protector of the two states, and therefore exit opportunities for the two are limited.” While historical issues affected relations between Tokyo and Seoul, American security policies were the primary determinant of cooperation between Japan and Korea. American policy changes produced distinct “abandonment” or “entrapment” responses within the U.S.-Japan and U.S.-ROK security alliances: shared perceptions yielded cooperation, while differing views produced friction. This paper analyzes America’s East Asia policies during the Bush and Obama administrations to assess Japanese and Korean reactions. Analyzed through the quasi-alliance model, American policies produced asymmetric responses in Japan and Korea, inhibiting security cooperation between Tokyo and Seoul. Diverging views of China exacerbated inherent friction between Korea and Japan. Thus, Japan will play a limited role in Korean security.
  • Topic: Security, Grand Strategy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • 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: 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: 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: Hong Nack Kim
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of Kim Jong-Il's death in December 2011, China clearly wanted a more cooperative new North Korean regime which would help stabilize the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The Kim Jong-Il regime had been a political liability and economic burden to China, as it defied the international community by perpetrating numerous provocations and crises. In order to avert a major conflict on the Korean Peninsula, Beijing had to bail out the Kim Jong-Il regime by defusing the crises created by North Korea's saber-rattling behavior and brinkmanship. Clearly, China did not want to repeat or endure a similar relationship with the new North Korean regime under Kim Jong-Un. This article seeks to examine China's policy toward the Kim Jong-Un regime from December 2011 to the present. In spite of initial optimism, Beijing has been disappointed by the Kim Jong-Un regime's defiant actions, such as the two ballistic missile tests in 2012 and the third nuclear test in February 2013. These developments inevitably raise serious doubts about China's ability to rein in the belligerent Kim Jong-Un regime. It is a major contention of this paper that it will be difficult for China to "tame" the Kim regime unless China is willing to reset its diplomatic priorities from seeking to prevent the collapse of Kim's regime to halting North Korea's provocations that may ignite a major conflict on the Korean Peninsula. The surest way to achieve this change will be through the effective utilization of economic sanctions to enhance the efficacy of the diplomatic measures on which it has relied too long and too singlemindedly.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Korea, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Andrew Scobell
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: A paramount geostrategic goal for China is to deny any other great power direct access to Korea. If outright control of the Peninsula is unachievable, then the second best situation for China is a divided Korea, which at least prevents other powers from having full control of Korea and limits Korea's own power. Unless a unified Korea can be independent and neutral, China has no real interest in a unified and independent Korea. Thus, for the past sixty years or so a divided Korea has suited Beijing's purposes.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing, Korea, Sinai Peninsula
  • Author: Chang-Il Ohn
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The causes of the Korean War (1950-1953) can be examined in two categories, ideological and political. Ideologically, the communist side, including the Soviet Union, China, and North Korea, desired to secure the Korean peninsula and incorporate it in a communist bloc. Politically, the Soviet Union considered the Korean peninsula in the light of Poland in Eastern Europe—as a springboard to attack Russia—and asserted that the Korean government should be “loyal” to the Soviet Union. Because of this policy and strategic posture, the Soviet military government in North Korea (1945-48) rejected any idea of establishing one Korean government under the guidance of the United Nations. The two Korean governments, instead of one, were thus established, one in South Korea under the blessing of the United Nations and the other in the north under the direction of the Soviet Union. Observing this Soviet posture on the Korean peninsula, North Korean leader Kim Il-sung asked for Soviet support to arm North Korean forces and Stalin fully supported Kim and secured newly-born Communist China's support for the cause. Judging that it needed a buffer zone against the West and Soviet aid for nation building, the Chinese government readily accepted a role to aid North Korea, specifically, in case of full American intervention in the projected war. With full support from the Soviet Union and comradely assistance from China, Kim Il-sung attacked South Korea with forces that were better armed, equipped, and prepared than their counterparts in South Korea.
  • Political Geography: China, America, South Korea, North Korea, Poland, Soviet Union
  • Author: Steven M. Goldstein
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: A discussion of the evolution and present state of Chinese research concerning the origins of the Korean War, with particular emphasis on the impact of the strategic aims of Joseph Stalin on the options open to China in the spring of 1950.
  • Political Geography: China, Korea
  • 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
  • Author: Scott Snyder, Joyce Lee
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The impact of the Korean War on North Korean politics, economy, foreign policy, and relations with the United States has been significant. The unsuccessful conclusion of war brought about dramatic changes in North Korea's political economic system by ending direct Soviet control, providing a basis for the consolidation of Kim Il Sung's power within the Korean Workers' Party, and feeding a desire on the part of Kim Il Sung to impose political and economic control as the self-actualized “center.” Kim Il Sung's ability to eliminate political rivals and establish and lead a totalitarian political system requiring loyalty to himself and his son, Kim Jong Il, the initial success of North Korea's centrally-planned economic system and mass mobilization policies that marked the height of North Korea's economic success in the 1950s and 1960s, a complex relationship between the Soviet Union and China that Kim Il Sung was able to manipulate to North Korea's advantage, and the enduring legacy of enmity between the United States and North Korea despite dramatic changes in the international system are factors that have clear influence on post-war North Korea. These influences persist today as dominant influences on North Korea's internal politics, economics, and foreign policy.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, North Korea, Soviet Union, 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