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  • 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