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  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: The Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI), with the generous support of the Korea Foundation, organized six “Vision Group” roundtable conversations with leading American scholars and commentators to discuss the United States’ relationship with the Republic of Korea. The first was held in December 2019, the last in November 2020. The intent was to consider the future of relations during a time of change. The Vision Group comprised a wide range of expertise and opinion. This record conveys some of the insights and recommendations that arose during the conversations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Andrew Yeo
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the U.S.-South Korea alliance in the context of Asia’s evolving security architecture. At the crux of the issue is the Biden administration’s desire to uphold the rules-based international order by reinforcing the network of inter-Asia alliances and multilateral institutions, on one hand, and the Moon government’s relative reluctance to deepen and expand security ties linked to an Indo-Pacific strategy that counter-balances China, on the other hand. Leveraging the existing alliance relationship, the Biden administration should encourage Seoul to coordinate with other like-minded countries committed to sustaining a rules-based regional order while assisting Seoul in mitigating potential strategic vulnerabilities. Conversely, as a middle power, South Korea must not shy away from the region’s security architecture, but instead actively coordinate with other actors in shaping the region’s strategic environment. By working in concert with other countries in the Indo-Pacific, Seoul can reduce its geopolitical vulnerability while advancing its national and regional interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Prashanth Parameswaran
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s New Southern Policy (NSP)—the most recent effort by Seoul to boost relations with Southeast Asian countries and India and diversify its relationships beyond four major powers: China, Japan, Russia, and the United States. Yet, at the same time, less of a focus has been placed on how to advance the security aspect of the NSP despite some of the inroads that have been made, as well as the underlying convergences of concerns and interests between South Korea and the countries of Southeast Asia. This paper addresses this gap by providing insights into South Korea’s security ties with Southeast Asia, based on a close analysis of South Korean and Southeast Asian accounts as well as conversations with officials and scholars on both sides. It makes three arguments. First, while South Korea’s efforts to advance security ties with Southeast Asian states as well as with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a bloc may have been met with mixed results so far, the inroads made still deserve attention and are rooted in several domestic, regional, and global drivers. Second, though these security ties create opportunities for Seoul’s relations with ASEAN countries, they also pose challenges that should not be ignored. Third and finally, advancing security relations between South Korea and Southeast Asian countries will require actions not just on the part of Seoul or ASEAN nations, but also other actors.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Troy Stangarone, Juni Kim
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: KEI’s 2021 Report on American Attitudes on the U.S.-ROK Alliance and North Korea Policy summarizes results from a survey commissioned by KEI and conducted by YouGov on May 6th to May 10th, 2021 in advance of the U.S.-ROK summit on May 21st, 2021. The survey asked Americans their views on the U.S.-South Korea relationship, North Korea policy, and the U.S.’ role in the East Asian region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kelsey Davenport, Julia Masterson
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Arms Control Association
  • Abstract: Addressing the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons is one of the most significant and complex challenges facing the United States. Developing, implementing, and sustaining a verifiable diplomatic process that reduces risk and rolls back Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program requires a whole of government approach, including constructive contributions from members of the U.S. Congress. While crafting and implementing such an approach will be the prerogative of the Executive Branch, the role that Congress can play in supporting or hindering such a process should not be overlooked. Congress has used an array of tools to put in place conditions for negotiations, express its support or opposition to administration policy, and implement coercive measures toward North Korea designed to punish Pyongyang for its violations of international law and stymie its weapons development efforts. Using survey data and in-depth interviews from the late months of 2020, this report provides insight into how Congress views the North Korean nuclear threat and U.S. approaches to engaging with Pyongyang. More clarity into Congressional views and attitudes may lead to more effective policymaking.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Frank Aum, Jacob Stokes, Patricia M. Kim, Atman M. Trivedi, Rachel Vandenbrink, Jennifer Staats, Joseph Yun
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A joint statement by the United States and North Korea in June 2018 declared that the two countries were committed to building “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.” Such a peace regime will ultimately require the engagement and cooperation of not just North Korea and the United States, but also South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan. This report outlines the perspectives and interests of each of these countries as well as the diplomatic, security, and economic components necessary for a comprehensive peace.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Diplomacy, Economy, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korean Peninsula, United States of America
  • Author: Yong-Sup Han
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At the end of 2017, the Korean Peninsula reached the brink of a nuclear war, as the US president Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un exchanged words of nuclear threats each other. A tug of war as to whose nuclear button is bigger and stronger exacerbated the nuclear crisis. However, the South Korean President Moon Jae-in intervened to resolve the crisis by taking advantage of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. In doing so, President Moon intended to pursue denuclearisation and peace-building on the Korean Peninsula at the same time. North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un responded positively to the South Korean call to hold the inter-Korean summit and the Trump-Kim summit. In order to end the Korean war and promote peace-building on the Korean Peninsula including termination of hostile acts on inter-Korean relations, the two Koreas adopted the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration, the September 19th Pyongyang Joint Declaration and the Inter-Korean Military Agreement at their summit in 2018. The Military Agreement is aimed at reducing tension and building trust between the two Koreas through conventional arms control, while the North Korean nuclear issue is being resolved through the US-DPRK summit. The September 19th Military Agreement is a modest but remarkable success in arms control history when compared with a long-term stalemate or even retreat in the contemporary international arms control arena. Indeed, arms control is at its lowest point in history, so dim are its prospects. Nevertheless, heated debates are taking place, both at home inside South Korea and abroad, over the legitimacy and rationality of the Sept. 19th Military Agreement. With little progress on the denuclearisation issue at the Kim-Trump summit and no sign of easing economic sanctions on Pyongyang, North Korea has test-fired short-range missiles ten times to exert pressure on the United States, undermining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Against this backdrop, this policy brief intends to analyse the true meaning of the September 19 Military Agreement between the two Koreas, to identify its problems and policy implications in order to draw up supplementary measures to implement it successfully. Furthermore, the paper will draw some implications for the relationship between progress on North Korea’s denuclearisation issue and further conventional arms control on the Korean Peninsula.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Van Jackson
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: For the foreseeable future, America’s Northeast Asian allies Japan and South Korea must live in the shadow of a nuclear North Korea, whose capabilities they cannot match. During the Obama and Trump administrations, North Korea dramatically expanded and improved its ability to hold Japanese, South Korean, and even U.S. territory at risk with its nuclear and missile arsenal.1 Despite high-profile summitry and promises to the contrary, there is no sign that this imbalance will be rectified, and its continuation exacerbates regional risks and ally insecurity.2 The mounting North Korea threat is compounded by poor timing—U.S. policy has proven exceptionally erratic, unreliable, and risk-prone in recent years. The very existence of Japan and South Korea depends on strategies built around a partnership with the United States that has become shaky, and on faith in the competence of U.S. statecraft—which both countries are starting to perceive as a risk rather than a source of security. Ally perceptions of U.S. strategic incompetence generate real costs and risks for the United States and Northeast Asian security. If the United States continues to squander its deepest relationships in Asia, the allies could become rivals with each other, increase risks of nuclear instability, play a spoiler role in U.S. regional strategy, withhold basing and access rights to U.S. forces operating in the region, and potentially take independent aggressive actions against North Korea that unintentionally escalate to war.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Gilbert Rozman, Mark Tokola, Gilbert Rozman, Dmitri V. Trenin, Yuki Tatsumi, Kathryn Botto, Rush Doshi, Scott W. Harold, See-Won Byun, Cheol Hee Park, Brad Glosserman, Charles W. Boustany Jr., Matthew Goodman, Wonho Yeon, Kitti Prasirtsuk
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: The experts in this volume have thoughtfully addressed themes that are pervasive throughout Asia and are timely for the U.S.-Korea alliance. With the future of Northeast Asia in flux, political leaders are hoping to transform their respective visions into the path forward for the region. Authors in the first section analyze the frameworks of U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to discern the currents underlying geopolitical developments in the region. The second section examines the role of national identity in key bilateral Indo-Pacific relationships where geopolitical fault lines have become clearer. Chapters in this section cover the India-China, U.S.-China, South Korea-China, and South Korea-Japan dyads. The final section provides insights into how several of China’s neighbors and the United States are responding to its economic rise, which, of course, are also guided by strategic concerns. Considering how COVID-19 has exacerbated the rivalry between Washington and Beijing as well as the influence this relationship carries in shaping the future of the region, the contributions here are particularly relevant and timely.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Economics, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Karl Friedhoff
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: From December 9 to 11, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs conducted a poll in South Korea on South Korean attitudes toward the United States, the alliance between the two countries, and the ongoing negotiations about host-nation financial support.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Public Opinion, Alliance, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America