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  • Author: Henry D. Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: With a new Democratic administration, Washington is almost certain to moderate its demands that Japan and South Korea pay more for American forces on their soil. This should ease tensions with Seoul to Tokyo. To strengthen security relations with Japan and South Korea, though, more will be required. Rather than simply increase their conventional military deployments, Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo will need to collaborate in new ways to enhance allied security. This will entail working more closely on new military frontiers, such as enhancing allied command of outer and cyber space as well as in underwater warfare. Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo will also want to carve out new functional areas of cooperation to make existing energy sources more secure, communications more reliable, data sharing easier and safer, and allied economic assistance to developing nations in strategic zones more effective. Enhanced collaboration in each of these areas has begun but is not yet locked in or fully institutionalized. It should be. Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo need one another to deal with China and North Korea. Yet, how each currently strategically views Beijing and Pyongyang differs. Nor is America’s preferred military approach to deterring Chinese and North Korean adventurism — by preventing Beijing and Pyongyang from projecting military strikes against their neighbors — all that easy to achieve. Adding new, more tractable items to America’s Asian security alliance agenda won’t immediately eliminate these misalignments. But it will strengthen the security ties they have as liberal democracies — bonds Beijing and Pyongyang are straining to fray.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Science and Technology, International Security, Military Affairs, Cyberspace, Nuclear Energy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, South Korea
  • Author: Karl Friedhoff, Craig Kafura, Dina Smeltz
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: American, Japanese, and South Korean publics see China as a more of a threat than a partner. Trilateral cooperation will be key to managing China's rise. Against a backdrop of growing regional rivalry, March and April 2021 surveys conducted in the United States, Japan, and South Korea show that publics in all three countries share similar views of China’s growing influence and intentions. But the data also show that internal divisions within the US-Japan-South Korea relationship will pose challenges to deeper cooperation.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, East Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sonali Chowdhry, Gabriel Felbermayr
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)
  • Abstract: How do firms of different sizes react to trade liberalization? Leading theories suggest that, amongst continuing exporters, lower trade costs should boost exports of smaller firms by the same or a greater rate than those of larger firms. However, studying the entry into force of the ambitious EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (EUKFTA) with French customs data, we find robust evidence to the contrary. Applying a triple-difference framework, we report that the FTA increased sales in the top quartile of continuous exporters by 71 percentage points more than in the bottom quartile. More than 90 percent of that growth premium is driven by a stronger effective reduction in broadly defined non-tariff barriers (NTBs); the remainder by a higher sensitivity to trade costs. These findings have implications for both heterogeneous firm trade models and for the capacity of FTAs to magnify inequality. In contrast, on the entry margins, our results are in line with the literature with the FTA selecting intermediate-sized firms into exporting to South Korea.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, European Union, Trade Liberalization, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Cheol-Won Lee, Hyun Jean Lee, Mahmut Tekçe, Burcu Düzgün Öncel
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The Agreement on Trade in Services and the Agreement on Investment between Korea and Turkey came into effect in August 2018. This article focuses on the construction sector and the cultural contents sector to seek possible cooperative measures between the two countries.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Culture, Economy, Investment, Industry
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Meeryung La
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: The Korean government has been pursuing a New Southern Policy (NSP) focusing on the “3P” areas of cooperation ‒ People, Prosperity, and Peace. The NSP puts people at a center of policy, and emphasizes the enhancement of cultural conversation and people-to-people exchange between Korea and ASEAN. The majority of services trade, an area with a low level of cooperation between Korea and ASEAN, is inherently based on the exchange of people. Promoting services trade flows between Korea and ASEAN could contribute to achieving the vision of a People-centered community in the region. Also, when taking into account the fact that services are integral to the working of GVC, the government should pursue policies to promote services trade and to enhance cooperation with ASEAN in the services sector. To this end, we aim to identify the current status of service trade and service trade barriers between ASEAN and Korea. This report briefly covers ASEAN’s trade in services and the restrictiveness of service trade regulations in ASEAN, and then suggests policy recommendations based on the results.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Regulation, Economy, Economic Policy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Jessica J. Lee
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: President Trump contends that “very rich and wealthy countries” like the Republic of Korea should pay more for American troops stationed in their countries. While a more balanced burden-sharing arrangement is necessary, the U.S.’s demand for a five-fold increase in South Korea’s contribution, from $924 million to $5 billion, threatens to tear apart the bilateral relationship and undermines U.S. interests on the Korean Peninsula. The issue demanding attention is not who pays how much, but whether the existing terms of the U.S.–ROK security relationship remain pertinent or must be revised. The long-term goal of U.S. grand strategy should be to facilitate the creation of a peaceful global order consisting of fully sovereign, law-abiding states capable of providing for their own security. Any state that hosts foreign forces and relies on those forces for its defense is not fully sovereign: It is dependent upon others to ensure its security. This describes the Republic of Korea today.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Liberal Order, Alliance
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, South Korea
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC)
  • Abstract: In an increasingly volatile world, mutual trust and confidence among defense establishments is critical. Growing arms competition and security anxiety in Northeast Asia, one of the most strategically important but politically volatile regions of the world, is increasing the demand for defense information, not only from governments and militaries but also from businesses, the media, and concerned citizens. The Defense Transparency Index (DTI), a project of the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, ranks six countries on their efforts to promote transparency in defense and national security. Included in the Index are the People’s Republic of China, Japan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and the Republic of Korea, along with the external major powers most involved in the region—the United States and Russia. What constitutes “defense transparency” is contested, and there is a lack of agreed-upon definitions and standardized means of measurement. The DTI addresses this gap by providing a framework for defining and measuring defense transparency. We rank countries across eight indicators to come up with overall rankings and for each country, providing a rigorous measurement of this essential but contested concept. Countries score well for budgetary disclosures, issuance of defense white papers, and being transparent on their military capabilities. The DTI is presented at the annual Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), a multilateral forum for track-two diplomacy. NEACD, which was founded by Susan Shirk, seeks to reduce the risk of military conflict in the region and to lay the groundwork for an official multilateral process in Northeast Asia by providing a regular channel of informal communication among the six governments.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Cooperation, Transparency
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Kathleen Stephens
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: The Center for the Study of Statesmanship, Catholic University
  • Abstract: This, the 2018 John Oh Memorial Lecture, was delivered by U.S. Ambassador (Retired) Kathleen Stephens.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Andrew O'Neil, Brendan Taylor, William T. Tow
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Australian National University Department of International Relations
  • Abstract: In this Centre of Gravity paper, Professors O’Neil, Taylor and Tow argued that the apparent optimism surrounding the upcoming ‘season of summitry’ on the Korean Peninsula should be tempered by the fact that there are potential risks attached to engaging the North Korean leadership without preconditions. They argue these include legitimising its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, alliance decoupling, and a serious deterioration in Asia’s strategic climate if the Trump-Kim summit fails to deliver concrete results. Building on a series of important policy roundtables in Australia, along with decades of experience, these three senior figures argue that Australian policy makers should look to develop a more integrated national approach to the Korean Peninsula. Policymakers should anticipate and prepare for a full range of possible outcomes. A clear definition and articulation of Australia’s considerable national interests in Northeast Asia—independent from those of the US—should be derived. Initially, the Turnbull Government should begin a whole-of-government review, managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This process would identify and implement policy initiatives where Australia can pursue a distinctly national approach to safeguarding its long-term interests on the Korean Peninsula, including future bilateral relations with North Korea.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, United Nations, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Australia, Pyongyang
  • Author: James Hackett
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: As US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meet in Singapore on 12 June, it is useful to keep in mind what is at stake. The long-standing tinderbox of the Korean Peninsula, if ignited through another provocation or miscalculation, could spark a full-scale war that could well go nuclear. The prize of diplomacy – sustainable peace on the peninsula – is all the more valuable when one considers the range of military capabilities potentially in play. This information is of use in assessing both the goals of diplomacy and the risks should the current efforts fail. Weapons based on the Korean Peninsula have become faster, more precise and more powerful. North Korea has tested a thermonuclear weapon, an intercontinental ballistic missile and more accurate shorter-range missiles, all designed to offset the relative qualitative weakness of its broader conventional forces. It has also pursued advanced cyber capabilities. South Korea, meanwhile, has focused on developing military systems allowing for more rapid and precise strikes. US forces on the peninsula have introduced yet more advanced capabilities. For these reasons the IISS provides this independent, measured and detailed analysis of military dynamics on the peninsula. The report focuses on the defence policies and military capabilities of the two Koreas, and the US military forces stationed in South Korea which can be brought to bear in a crisis. While it does not ignore unconventional systems, it principally focuses on conventional capabilities. Due to its poverty and isolation, North Korea’s conventional forces have become relatively weaker, compared with those of South Korea and its US ally. Aware of this qualitative inferiority, Pyongyang has invested in asymmetric capabilities, particularly the pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to deliver them. Nonetheless, Pyongyang’s armed forces remain equipped with a wide range of conventional military systems, including large numbers of artillery pieces and multiple-launch rocket systems. Its armed forces, at around 1.2 million, are the fourth-largest in the world. Its conventional military power remains significant, not least because of these numbers (for instance, 4,000 main battle tanks and 8,500 self-propelled- and towed-artillery systems) and the weight of fire they could rapidly bring to bear if employed. Seoul, for instance, is within range of many of North Korea’s artillery systems. North Korea has also developed increasingly advanced cyber capabilities as another aspect of its asymmetric power. The North will continue to improve these, if only to slow the decline in military parity between it and the South. US and South Korean defence authorities assume that the North will, in the event of major conflict, use cyber attacks against South Korean critical infrastructure and command-and-control networks. However, recent events like the Wannacry ransomware attacks have shown that North Korea is now using its cyber power for another purpose: raising revenue to support the regime. Meanwhile, South Korea’s defence policy and military posture is dominated by the security challenge from the North. This has led Seoul to pursue military capabilities, and strategies, designed to defeat North Korean provocations. These range from developments in air-defence, intended to tackle North Korea’s air force and missile capabilities, to strategies designed to pre-empt a potential North Korean provocation. To enable these strategies, South Korea has developed and procured increasingly advanced military systems, ranging from its own Hyeonmu ballistic- and cruise-missiles, to advanced air-to-ground air-launched weapons and, in the next few years, squadrons of F-35A combat aircraft. Working closely with the South Korean armed forces, the US maintains a military presence some 28,500-strong in South Korea, augmented by advanced military systems on the peninsula like the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic-missile-defence system, and the military power deployed by the US in the broader Indo-Pacific. This publication builds on the contributions of expert analysts of military power on the Korean Peninsula, and the extensive information holdings available in the IISS Military Balance+ database. It was prepared with the support of the Korea Foundation.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Michael Elleman
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: With the Iran nuclear accord currently on life support, it is not too late to pursue diplomatic measures that address the growing challenge posed by Iran’s ballistic missiles, argues Michael Elleman in a new report. The lack of curbs on Iran’s missile programme was cited by President Donald Trump in May 2018 as one of the principal reasons for withdrawing from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). With the nuclear accord consequently on life support, it is not too late to pursue diplomatic measures that address the growing challenge posed by Iran’s ballistic missiles. The most promising would be to lock in, through negotiations, the 2,000 kilometre-range limit that Iran has previously stated is its maximum requirement. While this would not reduce the threat perceived by Iran’s regional neighbours, it would forestall development of systems that could target Western Europe or North America. Tehran is not likely to commit to verification measures for such negotiated range limits, however, without receiving something in return. One bargain that could be considered would be to allow Iran to continue its satellite-launch programme, under certain conditions, while capping the maximum range of its ballistic missiles. Such a trade-off may also be relevant to the North Korean case.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Scott A. Snyder, Geun Lee, You Young Kim, Jiyoon Kim
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Despite becoming influential on the world scene, South Korea remains a relatively weak country surrounded by larger, more powerful neigh- bors. This contrast between its global rank as a top-twenty economy and its regional status as the weakest country in Northeast Asia (with the exception of North Korea) poses a paradox for South Korean for- eign policy strategists. Despite successes addressing nontraditional security challenges in areas such as international development, global health, and UN peacekeeping, South Korea is limited in its capacity to act on regional security threats. South Korea has historically been a victim of geopolitical rivalries among contenders for regional hegemony in East Asia. But the coun- try’s rise in influence provides a glimmer of hope that it can break from its historical role by using its expanded capabilities as leverage to shape its strategic environment. The pressing dilemma for South Korean strategic thinkers is how to do so. As the regional security environment becomes more tense, South Korea’s strategic options are characterized by constraint, given potentially conflicting great-power rivalries and Pyongyang’s efforts to pursue asymmetric nuclear or cyber capabilities at Seoul’s expense. South Korea’s relative weakness puts a premium on its ability to achieve the internal political unity necessary to maximize its influence in foreign policy. Students of Korean history will recall that domestic factionalism among political elites was a chronic factor that hamstrung Korea’s dynastic leadership and contributed to its weakness in dealing with outside forces.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Brendan Taylor, Greg Fealy, David envall, Bates Gill, Feng Zhang, Benjamin Zala, Michael Wesley, Shiro Armstrong, Anthony Bergin, David Brewster, Robin Davies, Jane Golley, Stephen Howes, Llewelyn Hughes, Frank Jotzo, Warwick McKibbin, Rory Medcalf, Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Steven Rood, Matthew Sussex
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Australian National University Department of International Relations
  • Abstract: Once again, Trump has broken the mould. The 100-day mark is traditionally used to assess a new administration’s progress in advancing its policy agenda. With Trump, that’s impossible. In foreign policy at least, it’s more appropriate to ask whether at the 100-day mark the Trump administration is any closer to actually having a policy agenda. In no region is this question more pressing than in the Asia Pacific. The Asia Pacific is home to two-thirds of the world’s population, two-thirds of the global economy, and provides two-thirds of all global economic growth. It is the arena for the most serious challenge to America’s international role since it emerged as a global power a century ago. It is also the region that hosts six of the world’s nine nuclear states, and four of those have the fastest growing stockpiles and the most unpredictable nuclear doctrines. Few would dispute that for over 70 years, the United States has both stabilised the Asia Pacific’s fractious strategic affairs and underpinned its rapid economic development. And so the possibility of a radically different American role in the region instituted by the least conventional President in living memory is of vital interest not only to the residents of the region, but to the world as a whole. We asked experts from across the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific to watch and assess the impact of Trump on the Asia Pacific during the first hundred days of his Presidency – and how the region, and Australia should respond. It’s the sort of exercise that the largest and most comprehensive collection of expertise on the Asia Pacific on the planet can do with relish – and with a customary policy eye. The result is a fascinating and varied portrait of how the new administration has affected the world’s most dynamic region, and how the region is likely to react. When viewed together, these essays allow us to reflect on three questions that will be crucial for this region and the world over the next four years and perhaps beyond. What have we learned about Trump and his administration? What do the region’s reactions to Trump tell us about the regional role of the United States in the future? And what do these responses tell us about the Asia Pacific, and its likely trajectory in the near- and mid-term future?
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Indonesia, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Australia
  • Author: Jaganath Sankaran
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: The United States and Japan are jointly developing and deploying an integrated advanced regional missile defense system meant to counter threats from North Korea. North Korea possesses a large and diversified arsenal of short- and medium-range missiles that could strike Japanese cities and military bases in the event of a crisis and cause measurable damage. The missile defense system currently in place provides strong kinematic defensive coverage over Japanese territory. However, in general, the offense enjoys a strong cost advantage. It is impractical to deploy as many defensive interceptors as there are offensive missiles, which, in turn, limits the efficiency of missile defenses. It should be understood that regional missile defenses in the Asia-Pacific are neither capable nor expected to provide 100% defense. Rather, their goal is to provide sufficient capability to bolster deterrence and, should deterrence fail, to provide enough defense in the initial stages of a crisis to protect vital military assets. Additionally, U.S. and Japanese forces apparently also need to develop a better command and control architecture to operate the Asia-Pacific regional missile defense system. Finally, while the system is meant to defend only against regional threats, China has argued that the system might in the future be able to intercept Chinese ICBMs, thereby diluting its strategic deterrent against the United States. Maintaining effective defenses against North Korea while reassuring China will be one of the major challenges the U.S. and Japan face in their missile defense endeavor.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Heung-kyu Kim
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As the Republic of Korea faces an increasing threat from North Korea, evolving U.S.-China relations are becoming important to Seoul’s strategy for dealing with Pyongyang. The United States and China are competitors, but they also seek cooperation on a range of global issues. And although South Korea seeks to have good relations with both great powers, it is increasingly being pushed to take sides in the ongoing U.S.-China competition. As the U.S.-China relationship becomes more complex, South Korea needs to carefully evaluate its policy toward China in order to find the best ways to ensure Chinese cooperation on the North Korean issue, particularly taking into account China’s evolving view of North Korea. Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, China is profoundly changing its foreign policy, including its relations with the United States and the two Koreas. With more confidence in its own diplomatic, military, and economic capacity to protect its national interests, China under Xi’s leadership has begun to regard the entire Korean Peninsula as part of its sphere of influence.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Gabriel Jonsson
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: South Korea has been board member of the UN Commission on Human Rights and member of the UN Human Rights Council serving as Chairman of the latter in 2016. Both organizations have been characterized by politicization, which undermines their work. However, no such example was found related to their work on human rights in North Korea. Although South Korea’s position on North Korean human rights issues had been inconsistent previously, Seoul has consistently supported UN resolutions since 2008. North Korea has rejected criticism from the UN of its human rights record. Work by the UN and South Korea on the North Korean human rights issue has failed to improve the situation. Regardless, these efforts have increased global awareness of North Korea rights violations and exerted some pressure on Pyongyang to address the situation. South Korea strengthened its commitment in this area when the National Assembly enacted the North Korean Human Rights Act in 2016. Realists’ and liberals’ views of international cooperation form the theoretical framework of the study.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Cooperation, United Nations, UN Human Rights Council (HRC)
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Gwynne Taraska, Henry Kellison
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for American Progress - CAP
  • Abstract: The G-20—a forum of 20 of the world’s largest economies—has a record of ambivalence on the topic of climate change. One case in point is the disconnect between the group’s efforts to address climate risks and its efforts to reduce the shortfall in global infrastructure investment. On one hand, the G-20 is aware that investing in projects that are high-carbon or vulnerable to the physical effects of rising temperatures carries risks that could have a destabilizing influence on the global economy. On the other hand, the G-20 is seeking to narrow the infrastructure gap in the absence of a guiding principle that infrastructure investments must be climate-compatible. Members of the G-20 Argentina Australia Brazil Canada China European Union France Germany India Indonesia Italy Japan Korea Mexico Russia Saudi Arabia South Africa Turkey United Kingdom United States In September 2016, world leaders will convene for the G-20 summit in Hangzhou, China. One focus of the climate agenda will be ensuring that the Paris Agreement takes effect in the near term. Negotiated by more than 190 nations and finalized in December 2015, the agreement set many collective goals, including limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels and ensuring that global financial flows are compatible with low-greenhouse gas development.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Turkey, India, South Korea, France, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Italy, Mexico
  • Author: Miles A. Pomper, Toby Dalton, Scott Snyder, Ferenc Dalnkoki-Veress
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last forty years, South Korea (or the Republic of Korea, or ROK) and the United States have become essential partners on nuclear matters. The United States provided the technology and knowhow necessary for Korea to establish a nuclear sector. Koreans mastered that technology and have worked to improve on it, with the twin goals of expanding their country’s energy independence and becoming a leading exporter of nuclear power production facilities. The two states’ nuclear energy industries have become intertwined. They cooperate on multiple initiatives to strengthen international nuclear security and nonproliferation measures. Collaborative research ties amongst nuclear scientists from both countries run deep. Arguably, each state is the other’s most important nuclear partner. As with all maturing relationships, there remain differences of view and priority that must be managed. Though unlikely, a disruption in ROK-US nuclear relations would have wide-ranging, deleterious effects on both states. For this reason, the conclusion in June 2015 of a new bilateral treaty, the Agreement for Cooperation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Korea Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (hereafter referred to as the 123 agreement after section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act, the relevant US statute) is a critical milestone. The new agreement establishes the terms for nuclear cooperation for the next twenty years. It is expansive and forward-looking, providing the basis for unusually broad and deep nuclear ties. The 123 agreement will bring predictability to the relationship at a time when the global nuclear energy outlook remains in flux. However, the new nuclear agreement only managed to partially resolve several deep-seated differences between the two sides that were illustrated by the fact that negotiations on a new agreement lasted more than four years and required an extension to complete. The agreement creates a new political framework for managing divergent views over how to cooperate most effectively, but differences may yet re-emerge and frustrate cooperation. The challenge before the two governments now is to implement the new agreement in ways that can either resolve or remove these differences and solidify existing ties. In other words, the two countries should seek to build a nuclear partnership in deed, not just in word. This report articulates a vision for ROK-US nuclear partnership for the next two decades, a period which aligns with the duration of the new agreement for cooperation. It highlights challenges and opportunities and provides recommendations intended to deepen and expand the range of existing cooperation in ways that will support a stable and sustainable nuclear partnership. The objective of the report is to describe a desirable and stable end-state for the relationship—an enduring partnership—and to identify steps along the path to achieve it. It discusses multiple areas of cooperation, assesses strengths and weaknesses of existing ties, and identifies practical activities both parties can pursue toward building the partnership.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mark Beeson, Richard Higgott
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: Middle power theory is enjoying a modest renaissance. For all its possible limitations, middle power theory offers a potentially useful framework for thinking about the behavior of, and options open, to key states in the Asia-Pacific such as South Korea, Japan and Australia, states that are secondary rather than primary players. We argue that middle powers have the potential to successfully implement 'games of skill', especially at moments of international transition. Frequently, however, middle powers choose not to exercise their potential influence because of extant alliance commitments and the priority accorded to security questions. We sub-stantiate these claims through an examination of the Australian case. Australian policymakers have made much of the potential role middle powers might play, but they have frequently failed to develop an independent foreign policy position because of pre-existing alliance commitments. We suggest that if the 'middle power moment' is to amount to more than rhetoric, opportunities must be acted upon.
  • Topic: International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, Latin America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Mr Alain Guidetti
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: President Xi Jinping's July 2014 visit to Seoul indicates that the strategic partnership between China and the Republic of Korea is moving forward against a backdrop of growing power competition and instability in the region. Both Seoul and Beijing have strong interest in close cooperation: Beijing wants to prevent a full-fledged trilateral alliance between the US, Japan and South Korea aimed at containing China's rising power Seoul needs Chinese support in its efforts to reach out to Pyongyang and work towards future reunification.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, International Affairs, Bilateral Relations, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Beijing, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Brad Glosserman
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The US extended deterrent in Northeast Asia is strong. US alliances with Japan and South Korea are each arguably in the best shape in years, with alliance modernization efforts proceeding in tandem with domestic adjustments to security policy that strengthen the foundation for cooperative action. Policy toward North Korea, historically a wedge between Washington and allied governments in the region, is largely aligned, and serving as a glue rather than a source of discord.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Japan, South Korea
  • Author: Samuel J. Mun
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Project 2049 Institute
  • Abstract: The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces (JMSDF) are “destined to cooperate” in an increasingly competitive security environment in Northeast Asia. Both parties share bilateral security treaties with the United States, prioritize protection of shared sea lines of communication (SLOCs), and face the challenge of addressing the threat of North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Armed Forces, Navy, Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Sugio Takahashi
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Project 2049 Institute
  • Abstract: The Japan-U.S. alliance has unique organizational characteristics compared to other major U.S. military alliances such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the U.S.-ROK (Republic of Korea) alliance. While these two alliances have a single integrated command and control (C2) structure for wartime coalition operation, the Japan-U.S. alliance lacks a permanent institution for combined operation. In the event of a military contingency, Japanese Self-Defense Force (SDF) and U.S. military forces must operate separately. In the absence of a C2 structure, the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation (hereafter “Defense Guidelines”) in effect embody procedures for operational coordination for the Japan-U.S. alliance.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Joel Wit, Robert Carlin, Charles Kartman
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), Stanford University
  • Abstract: When the South Korean fast ferry Hankyoreh sailed out of North Korean waters into the cold wind and waves of the East Sea on the morning of 8 January 2006, it carried a sad and somber group of South Korean workers, ROK officials, and personnel from the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). These were all that remained of a decade long multinational effort transforming what in 1994 had been only a paper notion into a modern construction complex of steel and concrete. KEDO's profile on the North Korean landscape was unmistakable, its impact on Pyongyang profound. Yet, real knowledge and understanding about the organization in public and official circles in South Korea, Japan, and the United States was terribly thin at the beginning, and remains so to this day.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Israel, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Young Ho Kim
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East Asia Institute (EAI)
  • Abstract: On January 5, 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama paid a rare visit to the Pentagon and unveiled his guidelines for the Department of Defense to set the goals and priorities of its defense strategy for the next ten years. The resulting eight-page-long guidelines, entitled Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense (hereafter DSG), contain the administration’s assessment of changing global security conditions and propose the roles and shape of the U.S. armed forces for the coming decade. Prepared through “unprecedentedly” close consultations between the President himself and senior leaders in the U.S. defense department and military including both service chiefs and combatant commanders, the DSG defines the present as a historic “inflection point” and envisions the future U.S. military as “smaller and leaner, but agile, flexible, ready and technologically advanced.” Moreover, in accordance with the DSG the U.S. defense budget will be cut by $487 billion and the sizes of the Army and Marine Corps will shrink by 80,000 and 14,000 respectively over the next ten years. While a more detailed picture will be revealed next month with the administration’s FY2013 budget request to Congress, the DSG reflects the Obama administration’s arduous effort to rebalance and redirect its defense priorities and spending under severe fiscal austerity. Because of the unusual timing of its publication and the magnitude of the reduction in defense spending, the DSG has generated controversy and concern domestically in the United States as well as internationally. In the United States, particularly people in the conservative wing of the Republican Party have been prompted to criticize the guidelines for putting the nation’s security in danger, whereas some people on the liberal side have advocated seeking deeper and bolder cuts in defense spending. Internationally, China was understandably the first to respond negatively to the DSG. For example, rebutting the DSG’s portrayal of Beijing’s military policy as lacking transparency as “groundless and untrustworthy,” Liu Weimin, a spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, stressed that Beijing was committed to peaceful development and “defensive” policy. What then are the implications of the DSG for South Korean security? Will there be any changes in U.S. defense policy or posture in the region under the DSG that may affect security conditions in South Korea significantly and, if so, require new measures or scrutiny by the South Korean government or the military? In fact, there have been largely four issues raised by the news media in South Korea. I will examine these four issues, and then discuss more challenging concerns that will require closer attention by South Korean foreign and security policy-makers.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Haejong Lee
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East Asia Institute (EAI)
  • Abstract: Alliance is an instrument for national interest, which is dependent upon the international environment and defined by domestic, democratic political processes. This commonsense notion of alliance was not fully embraced by the incoming South Korean administration of Lee Myung Bak in 2008. For the Lee administration, South Korea’s alliance with the United States was much more than an instrument of foreign policy. The alliance embodied South Korea’s political identity and was severely damaged by the preceding Roh Moo Hyun administration’s anti-American, pro–North Korean policies. The restoration of the Republic of Korea (ROK)–US alliance was both the goal and key to its national security strategy of Global Korea to enhance South Korean’s influence, contribution, and stature on a global scale. Thereafter, in a circle of the alliance’s cheerleaders in both Seoul and Washington, the alliance has almost taken its own life: the alliance should be protected from disruptive political forces and modernized/adjusted/expanded into new dimensions for the preservation of the alliance itself. In the post–Cold War years, the United States has tried to modernize its military alliances in order to preserve its influence at reduced costs. The Barack Obama administration had to mend US alliances strained during the George W. Bush administration’s war on terror. In 2009, Presidents Lee and Obama agreed on “a comprehensive strategic alliance of bilateral, regional, and global scope, based on common values and mutual trust.” The so-called Great Recession, triggered by the fall of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008, has both brought to power and bedeviled the Obama administration; 9/15 has become a new historical marker, replacing 9/11. The very “common values” of the ROK-US strategic alliance—democracy and market economy—have been put to the test; the worries and cries over the decline of the US have arisen once again. In May 2010, the Obama administration published its national security strategy of national renewal and global leadership. Nation-building at home was the primary goal of and imperative to national security. Along with moral leadership to “live” American values, global architecture to embed both allies and challengers in US-centered institutional networks became a new feature of American global leadership. “The United States can, must, and will lead in this new century,” asserted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in September 2010 at the Council of Foreign Relations, the oldest bastion of American global leadership. She went on to declare that “the complexity and connection of today’s world have yielded a new American moment, a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways.” Confirming that “the 21st century will be another great American century,” President Obama argued at this year’s Air Force Academy graduation ceremony that “we have laid the foundation for a new era of American leadership.” Global Korea, with a comprehensive strategic alliance and a free trade agreement with the United States and hosting of a G-20 meeting and nuclear security summit, has been an integral part and a success story of American global architecture. The Lee administration was awarded with the first two-plus-two (foreign and defense ministers) meeting in 2010, which had been previously held only with Japan, and a state visit to Washington in 2011. “The relation between our two countries has never been stronger,” commended Secretary of State Clinton in this year’s second two-plus-two meeting. Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-Jin confirmed the 2015 operation control plan and expressed commitment to make “the alliance the best alliance in the world.” American Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta lauded an ongoing trilateral collaboration, including Korea and Japan, to deter North Korea as “another way to strengthen and modernize our alliance.” It is widely disputed that the Obama administration has seized a new American moment and laid the foundation for a new American century. The Obama administration has been beset with rampant unemployment and snowballing deficits. “The Moment of Truth,” a bipartisan commission’s report on the financial crisis, issued a warning in 2010 that it is imperative to raise revenues and to cut both defense and nondefense spending—in short, a complete overhaul of the existing American national security state and social welfare system. However, the political polarization of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street and resultant partisan gridlock have foiled nation-building at home and led to the first downgrading of the US credit rating and a self-made financial cliff of sequester—mandatory across-the-board budget cuts in the next ten years beginning January 2013. Against its lean and mean years, the Obama administration’s rhetoric of a new American moment or century rings hollow. In contrast, the positive—it couldn’t be better—evaluation on the state of the ROK-US alliance is widely held. Nevertheless, the alliance’s success does not resonate with a (far from positive) strategic reality facing South Korea; nor does the alliance translate into a smooth-working component of American global architecture. The Lee administration has doubled down on its alliance with the US. With the Obama administration’s “strategic patience” or no policy toward North Korea, the Lee administration has succeeded in punishing/isolating North Korea but failed to prevent the latter’s development of nuclear capacity, not to mention the latter’s denuclearization. Or, to put it differently, when it comes to nuclear issues or power transition, North Korea has been on its own, with no South Korean leverage over the latter. Most critically and tragically, Global Korea’s prime moment of hosting a G-20 meeting in November 2010 (in the midst of the final renegotiation of a Korea-US free trade agreement) was followed by North Korea’s shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, which in turn led to a joint Korean-US military exercise including the USS George Washington aircraft carrier and which was opposed by China. In the G-20/Yeonpyeong moment, the Lee administration succeeded in synchronizing its strategic and comprehensive alliance with the US and global contribution but rather miserably failed to maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula and manage its relationship with China. On the other hand, the ROK-US comprehensive and strategic alliance does not dispense with politics among allies; nor does it develop into a trilateral cooperation of the United States, South Korea, and Japan. The Lee administration has been at odds with the United States on the issues of spent nuclear fuel reprocessing and missile development, albeit much out of public scrutiny. In addition, the Lee administration has recently confronted Japan with the territorial issue of Dokdo and Japanese colonialism, along with a public relations campaign, including President Lee’s visit to Dokdo in August 2012. This was an abrupt turnabout from its attempt to share information with Japan on North Korea through a military accord—a trilateral collaboration that Panetta mentioned as a way to modernize the ROK-US alliance. Faced with a public uproar against the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), the Lee administration canceled the latter’s signing ceremony at the last minute and turned to confront Japan, which reciprocated with its territorial claim and disavowal of historical responsibilities for colonialism, and even a threat to halt financial cooperation. In sum, despite of (or because of, if you will) the much touted success of the ROK-US alliance, South Korea is now in a diplomatic wilderness, isolated from all of its neighbors—North Korea, China, and Japan. Why? It is, I argue, because President Lee’s Global Korea was a vision for a bygone, pre–Great Recession, and pre-G-2 world. As long as the United States confronted an assertive China with allies and new partners, South Korea’s strategic alliance with the United States could serve both the former’s security interests and the latter’s regional architect. The sinking of the Cheonan happened in the context of such confrontations of the United States and China over the South China Seas, which led to the rescheduling of transfer of operational control (from the United States to South Korea) from 2012 to 2015 that had been requested by the Lee administration. However, as the United States began to embrace China and both deemed it necessary to contain security tensions on the Korean Peninsula, an assertive South Korea against North Korea and China became a liability to the United States, and South Korea’s strategic, global, comprehensive alliance with the United States became superfluous, if not necessarily inimical, to South Korea’s local and regional interests. Such was the case after the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island. Following is a reconstruction of an anticlimax of Global Korea in the historical contexts of the Obama administration’s struggles to forge a new American global leadership.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, G20, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Andrew Yeo
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East Asia Institute (EAI)
  • Abstract: How significant are trilateral relations in Northeast Asia? Does increasing trilateral cooperation between China, Japan, and South Korea undermine existing U.S. bilateral relationships? Can Japan and South Korea use trilateral relations to hedge between the United States and China? Or do these middle powers help create a buffer between great power rivals by establishing trilateral relations with both the United States and China? This essay explores trilateral cooperation in East Asia paying particular attention to developments in trilateral relations between China, Japan, and South Korea. Although trilateral cooperation among Northeast Asian states will likely continue to grow, proponents of U.S. bilateral alliances need not be alarmed about such trends. Taking a positive-sum view of trilateral relations, policymakers should encourage trilateral developments, whether they include the United States or China, to the extent that such institutional arrangements facilitate cooperation and trust-building at the bilateral and multilateral level. This essay is organized into four sections. In the first section I provide a brief overview of trilateral cooperation between China, Japan, and South Korea. I also present data available from the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) website indicating trends and patterns in trilateral relations since 1999. Section two discusses the relative political significance of trilateral cooperation within Northeast Asia and its limitations. The focus here is on the micro-foundations of trilateral cooperation. Section three places the TCS and the Trilateral Summit in a broader strategic context. I address trilateral cooperation in the context of geopolitical rivalry between the United States and China and East Asia’s developing institutional architecture. Section four concludes by arguing that trilateral initiatives are not zero-sum. Although some policymakers fear that traditional U.S. allies may drift closer to China as trilateral cooperation expands, the TCS and Trilateral Summit are but one set of institutional mechanisms situated in conjunction with or on top of bilateral alliances.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Ellen Kim, Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's state visit to the US was a big event that attested to the strength of the two countries' relationship and the personal ties between Presidents Obama and Lee. The timely passage of the KORUS FTA in the US was the big deliverable for the summit. Final ratification of the FTA in both countries clears one longstanding issue and lays the foundation for greater economic integration and a stronger alliance. Meanwhile, the most shocking news for the final third of the year was the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in late December. His death disrupted US-DPRK bilateral talks as North Korea observed a mourning period for its late leader. The US and South Korea spent the last two weeks of December quietly watching developments in North Korea as the reclusive country accelerated its succession process to swiftly transfer power to the anointed successor, Kim Jong Un.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East Asia Institute (EAI)
  • Abstract: Not since the visit of Deng Xiapoing in 1979 has a Chinese state visit attracted so much attention as President Hu Jintao’s visit to the United States on January 19, 2011. After a rocky year in U.S.-China relations following President Barack Obama’s visit to Beijing in November 2009, attention naturally focused on the future direction of the relationship between the two countries. Further attention imbued with curiosity also centered on how a relatively declining United States and a rapidly rising China would shape the world order in the long-run. Also following North Korea’s provocations in 2010, the world carefully looked for any strong emphasis on the issue of the Korean Peninsula as a regional challenge. There have been two different interpretations in regards to the results of the U.S.-China summit: an optimistic outlook that the two countries will become cooperative partners and move forward as underscored in the Joint Statement, and pessimistic views that the two powers will merely continue the repeated pattern of conflict and check that they have been doing since November 2009. A similar mix of opinions prevails in regards to the Korean Peninsula. Some expect immediate improvement in inter-Korean relations and the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, while others criticize the U.S.-China summit for barely papering over the cracks. However, neither hasty optimism nor gloomy pessimism is appropriate at this time. There is a need to utilize a comprehensive response strategy, which goes beyond narrow political understandings, based on a precise analysis of the results of the summit.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Hegemony, Summit
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Wonchil Chung
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East Asia Institute (EAI)
  • Abstract: There was a lot at stake for the Korean Congress in August 2011, and one of them was the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). Regarding this bill, the two main parties have been pitted against one another. The Grand National Party (GNP) asserts that the FTA bill has at least to be submitted to the Standing Committee; while the Democratic Party (DP) suggests the 10+2 renegotiation proposal (see Appendix 1) for the KORUS FTA that impose restrictions on the arrangement. If the DP's proposal is agreed upon by the National Congress, ratification becomes impossible, since the proposal will allow the negotiation of the FTA, in progress for more than four years (2006 to February 2011), to be taken back to square one. It is true that the KORUS FTA has a lot to offer when it comes to economic aspects, as the Ministry of Strategy and Finance (MOSF) pointed out in its analysis (see Appendix 2). With that in mind, the GNP risks its political position, as public opinion displays distrust and dissatisfaction over the imbalance between Korea and the United States shown during the progress of the negotiation (see Appendix 3).
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Joel Wit, Robert Carlin, Charles Kartman
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: When the South Korean fast ferry Hankyoreh sailed out of North Korean waters into the cold wind and waves of the East Sea on the morning of 8 January 2006, it carried a sad and somber group of South Korean workers, ROK officials, and personnel from the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). These were all that remained of a decade long multinational effort transforming what in 1994 had been only a paper notion into a modern construction complex of steel and concrete. KEDO's profile on the North Korean landscape was unmistakable, its impact on Pyongyang profound. Yet, real knowledge and understanding about the organization in public and official circles in South Korea, Japan, and the United States was terribly thin at the beginning, and rema ins so to this day.
  • Topic: Communism, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Seongho Sheen
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East Asia Institute (EAI)
  • Abstract: The alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States today faces a complex security environment, in which the threats it confronts are more diverse, more complicated, and require a more delicately balanced approach than ever before. In particular, expectations—even demands—are growing for South Korea to contribute to world peace and stability as a global partner for the United States in pursuing their mutual security interests (Campbell et al. 2009). Do the ROK and the United States share enough strategic interests to sustain such an alliance in the twenty-first century? And should South Korea assume an increasing role in maintaining regional and global peace? During the Cold War, the two countries' alliance was a military one, focused on the clear and direct threat from North Korea. Now, in the twenty-first century, the two security partners must transform their hard alliance into a "smart" alliance to meet more diverse security challenges together. A different set of hard and soft approaches are required, and a smart alliance will call for a more flexible combination of roles played by each partner, depending on the circumstances.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East Asia Institute (EAI)
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S.-ROK alliance has gone through the greatest and most rapid changes in its fifty-six-year history. Yet the United States and South Korea have both failed to establish any strategic "Joint Vision" for the alliance in this new era. The Roh Moo-hyun administration dealt with many issues of alliance transformation. These included the relocation of U.S. military bases, the transfer of Wartime Operational Control (WOC) from the United States to South Korea, and efforts to facilitate the strategic flexibility of U.S. forces in Korea. None of these changes, however, were fully based on any shared strategic vision between the two countries; rather, the alterations were limited bottom-up approaches. The Lee Myung-bak administration has managed to restore the previously damaged U.S.-ROK relations with the Bush administration in 2008. It also dealt with many issues affecting the future of the alliance. But an overall reenvisioning of the alliance only came about under the current Lee-Obama partnership. The culmination of the June 2009 U.S.-ROK Summit was the joint statement released by the two presidents entitled "Joint Vision for the Alliance of the U.S. and the ROK." This statement has been long overdue. It set out clearly the security problem confronting the two countries, and established their shared strategic interests. In a simple and concise way, the "Joint Vision" laid out the future direction of the alliance in a wide range of areas, including not only military issues but also international values, the economy, the environment, and human rights. Fundamentally, the document recognized that the geographic range of the alliance has expanded globally, beyond both the Korean Peninsula and the Asia-Pacific region. The future of the alliance is significant not just for the United States but also for South Korea. Korea’s diplomatic outlook can no longer be limited to the Peninsula, because its national power has matured enough to warrant a new diplomatic strategy in its approach to its region and the world. As part of this vision, the Lee administration has issued a new strategic motto, "Global Korea." But the government still has a long way to go. It needs a more complete set of specific policies supported by a strong domestic consensus. The new vision for the U.S.-ROK alliance will help facilitate South Korea’s diplomatic leap forward. At this critical time, the United States needs assistance from its allies, including South Korea. Currently, global leadership faces numerous transnational problems such as the unprecedented global economic crisis, an insurgency in Afghanistan that is at its highest levels since the U.S. invasion in 2001, and a weakened U.S. global leadership in need of revitalization. If these major challenges are to be met, the "Joint Vision" needs to be converted into specific policies. The recent summit allowed a comprehensive discussion of both the new vision’s principles and the issues related to those principles, including the North Korean nuclear crisis, provisions for the global role of the alliance, and nonmilitary issues like the KORUS FTA (Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement). Naturally, given today’s circumstances, the North Korean nuclear program dominated the meetings. President Obama and President Lee have found considerable common ground in setting the strategic goals and policy direction that will be required to resolve the nuclear issue.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East Asia Institute (EAI)
  • Abstract: Asia is the region where a quarter of the total of American products is consumed, major bilateral allies exist, various networks of mul-tilateral institutions operate, and new powers are rising. President Obama, during his first Asia trip, tried to emphasize that America is an Asia-Pacific power that will continue its commitment through a renewed East Asia strategy of “power of balance.” Now at the crossroads of China’s foreign policy of “har-mony,” Japan’s new concept of “fraternity,” and South Korea’s catchphrase of “pragmatic for-eign policy,” the United States needs to refresh its role which has been defined as a “regional stabilizer.” People in Asia are eager to see Pres-ident Obama’s new approach to his East Asia strategy, because he inherited from his prede-cessor a triple crisis in the areas of security, soft power, and economy. President Obama’s recent Asia trip has certainly attracted the minds of many people in Asia with his concepts of strong “partnership,” and a positive-sum Asian future, as expressed in his address at the Suntory Hall, Japan. As the communication power of a network becomes more important in 21st century international politics, President Obama’s Asia trip means a lot with his efforts for public diplomacy. Putting aside images and metaphors, the strategic orientation of the United States’ East Asia strategy still needs to be more specified. People in Asia are concerned about four areas: 1) how the United States will cooperate with a rising China in producing a consensus in many sensitive and difficult areas such as mili-tary competition, economic interdependence, climate change, and ideational orientation; 2) how the United States will redefine the role of bilateral alliances which should go beyond the task of military cooperation, stretching to re-gional security and non-traditional security issues; 3) how the United States will facilitate the creation and the development of multila-teral cooperative institutions by actively par-ticipating in them; 4) and how the US will deal with security threats such as the North Korean nuclear crisis, cross-Strait relations, East Asian nationalism, and, most of all, regional power transition. So far, the United States seems to be more focused upon recovery from the economic crisis and getting help from various Asian partners in this effort. That leaves open the question of how to redefine the United States’ role in the rapidly changing environment of Asian international relations. Despite a relatively short stay in Seoul for about 20 hours, President Obama confirmed his commitment to South Korea with renewed words and statements: he underscored the importance of the KORUS FTA not just from an economic perspective, but also from a stra-tegic standpoint; he promised to provide con-tinued extended nuclear deterrence; he basi-cally agreed with South Korea’s approach to resolving the North Korean nuclear problem through a more comprehensive deal; and he highlighted new areas of cooperation at the global level such as climate change, Afghanis-tan, economic recovery, and the development of the G-20. South Koreans expect that the KORUS FTA will be the stepping stone for strengthening bilateral economic and strategic relations, recovery of both countries’ econo-mies, and improving interdependent regional economic relations. Regarding the North Ko-rean nuclear crisis, it seems that there is still a lot more to be done in making North Korea give up completely its nuclear program. This will require more intense and creative dialo-gue between Seoul and Washington. As North Korea has not made any strategic decision regarding its nuclear program and any future national strategic orientation, its return to the Six-Party Talks will only just be the beginning in yet another difficult series of negotiations. South Korea, as a strong American ally and a potential global middle power, will continue to work closely with the United States. The two countries need to search for new tasks and functions for bilateral cooperation in a world of rapidly changing international relations, where “smart” alliance and “21st century international statecraft” are required.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Stephan Haggard, Marcus Noland
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: A continuing leitmotif of the Six Party Talks—among the United States, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and North Korea—is the prospect that a resolution of the nuclear question could set the stage for more institutionalized and enduring multilateral cooperation in Northeast Asia. The Joint Statement of September 19, 2005, which outlined the principles governing subsequent negotiations, referenced new “ways and means for promoting security cooperation in northeast Asia,” and the February 13, 2007 Joint Statement created a Working Group on a Northeast Asia Peace and Security Mechanism (NEAPSM).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: South Korea's electoral politics has made a turn to the right that is likely to lead to closer security ties with the U.S. and some other important adjustments in foreign policy and has already strained relations with the North. The shift toward the Grand National Party (GNP), evident in President Lee Myung-bak's victory in late 2007, was completed when it won a majority in the 18th National Assembly in the 9 April 2008 elections. Those elections were dominated by domestic concerns, especially the economy; foreign policy and inter-Korean relations were near the bottom of voters' interests. The GNP's legislative agenda will include deregulation and privatisation, intended to revitalise business. Although generally supportive of Lee on foreign policy, the new assembly may cause him problems, particularly over unpopular economic liberalisation and deregulation proposals. Opposition to these, which have already produced a major political crisis, may have an impact on wider security concerns.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The quarter started off well with the first meeting of Presidents George W. Bush and Lee Myung-bak at Camp David in April. The two leaders emphasized common values and the global scope of the alliance. They reached an agreement to maintain current U.S. troop levels on the Peninsula, which appeared to be an attempt by conservatives in Seoul to reverse the unfortunate trend they saw during the Roh-Rumsfeld era where each side was perceived as whittling away at the foundations of the alliance for disparate reasons. An important but understated accomplishment was Bush's public support of Lee's request to upgrade the ROK's foreign military sales status. Should this request be approved by the Congress, it would amount to a substantial upgrading of the bilateral alliance relationship as it would give Seoul access to a wider range of U.S. military technologies similar to what NATO and other allies like Australia enjoy. Finally, the two governments inked a memorandum of understanding on security improvements necessary to enable the ROK's entry to the U.S. visa waiver program.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, South Korea, Korean Peninsula
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Scores of thousands of North Koreans have been risking their lives to escape their country's hardships in search of a better life, contributing to a humanitarian challenge that is playing out almost invisibly as the world focuses on North Korea's nuclear program. Only a little over 9,000 have made it to safety, mostly in South Korea but also in Japan, Europe and the U.S. Many more live in hiding from crackdowns and forcible repatriations by China and neighbouring countries, vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. If repatriated to the North, they face harsh punishment, possibly execution. China and South Korea have held back, even during the Security Council debate over post-test sanctions, from applying as much pressure as they might to persuade Pyongyang to reverse its dangerous nuclear policy, in part because they fear that the steady stream of North Koreans flowing into China and beyond would become a torrent if the North's economy were to collapse under the weight of tough measures. While there is marginally more hope Beijing will change its ways than Pyongyang, concerned governments can and must do far more to improve the situation of the border crossers.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Sook-Jong Lee
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East Asia Institute (EAI)
  • Abstract: Seoul Policymakers have begun to use the concept of "soft power" in recent years, and they have found it to be an attractive foreign policy tool. Since the end of the Korean War, South Korea has strived to build up its "hard power"—a strong military to contain an aggressive North Korea and economic growth to pull the South out of poverty. Having achieved rapid economic development, a consolidated democracy, and reconciliation with the North, South Korea now looks out at the world from a small peninsula. For policy entrepreneurs seeking the best way to enhance their country’s international standing, Joseph Nye’s celebrated notion of soft power—defined as "the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payment" (Nye 2004)—is appealing. Scholarly debates now have turned to the more difficult and practical question of how to infuse South Korean diplomacy with this notion of soft power following the inauguration of the Lee Myung-bak government. Adding the marketing concept of "branding" to soft power, the government established the Presidential Committee on Nation Branding in January of 2009.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Linda Jakobson
  • Publication Date: 01-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the spring of 1999 Swiri-fever swept South Korea. Millions flocked to see the first domestic action film considered up to international standards. “Swiri,” a slick Hollywood-style spy thriller, revolves around the complex issue of Korean unification that lies at the heart of Korea's future. Since the inauguration of President Kim Dae-jung in February 1998, South Korea has debated unification more openly than ever before.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Civil Society, Humanitarian Aid, International Cooperation, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea