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Center for U.S.-Korea Policy

As of September 2011, the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy and its director and founder, Scott Snyder, are based at the Council on Foreign Relations' Program on U.S.-Korea Policy.

The Center for U.S.-Korea Policy aims to deepen and broaden the foundations for institutionalized cooperation between the United States and South Korea by promoting bilateral policy coordination. The Center supports a comprehensive U.S.-ROK alliance partnership on emerging global, regional, and non-traditional security challenges.

Scott Snyder regularly contributes to the new blog of the Council on Foreign Relations, Asia Unbound.

Read our newsletter for the latest issues affecting U.S.-Korea relations.


Scott Snyder and See-Won Byun provide quarterly analyses of developments in China-Korea relations in Comparative Connections, a publication of the Honolulu-based Pacific Forum CSIS. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has released their report on U.S.-South Korea-China coordination on the Korean peninsula, co-written with Bonnie Glaser and David Szerlip, CSIS. Scott Snyder and See-Won Byun have presented a paper on China-ROK management of trade and security relations as part of the Korea Economic Institute's Academic Paper Series. Event details are available here. Scott Snyder has contributed an article on "Economic Interdependence, Alliance Cooperation, and Sino-U.S. Complex Interdependence" in the East Asia Institute's Issue Briefing series.

The Center co-hosted a workshop with South Korea's Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security and Jeju Peace Institute on China's Rise and Implications for the U.S.-ROK Alliance, featuring papers on political/diplomatic (Kim Heungkyu, Evans Revere); military (Kim Taeho, Ralph Cossa); economic (Lee Ji Yong, Drew Thompson); and soft power (Lee Geun, John Delury) implications.


The Center undertakes initiatives on regional security in East Asia and the role of the Korean peninsula, the most recent of which included a symposium co-hosted with The Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul on "Post-Cheonan Regional Security" examining the regional security implications of the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan. Center Director Scott Snyder has analyzed the implications of the Cheonan sinking on Northeast Asian stability in the June 2010 issue of The Oriental Economist. Mo Jongryn, Professor at Yonsei University, has also presented a paper on U.S.-Japan-Korea trilateralism at a Center for U.S.-Korea Policy workshop.


In collaboration with the Korean Economic Association and Korean Political Science Association, the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy organized a public forum on "Recasting the Korean Model of Development," exploring the development experience of South Korea, host of the third high-level international meeting on aid effectiveness in 2011.  Jae Ku, Johns Hopkins University, presented a paper on "Theoretical Problems in Economic Development and Democratization: Korean Model in Comparative Perspective." Edward Reed, The Asia Foundation's Korea Representative, has presented a paper on South Korea's Saemaul Undong as a model for developing countries at an international conference commemorating the 40th anniversary of Saemaul Undong in Seoul.


As part of the Independent Task Force Program of the Council on Foreign Relations, this task force assesses U.S. policy toward South and North Korea in an attempt to forge a more integrated approach toward the peninsula. The Task Force is co-chaired by Ambassador Charles Pritchard, former special envoy for negotiations with North Korea, and General John H. Tilelli, former commander-in-chief of the UN Command, Combined Forces Command, and U.S. Forces Korea, and directed by Scott Snyder, Center for U.S.-Korea Policy Director. Read more about the task force. The new Task Force Report is now available here. Report findings were discussed with the New York Times’ David Sanger (audio/video/transcript) and The Wall Street Journal's John Bussey (audio/video).


This project explores the prospects for broadening and deepening the foundations for alliance-based cooperation between the United States and South Korea. Through a series of essays on global and functional areas of cooperation, authors suggest new ways to enlarge the agenda for U.S.-ROK alliance coordination. These papers were featured in a three-part symposium series in Washington and Seoul in Fall/Winter 2009-10 and a workshop covering ten topics: pandemics; nonproliferation; space; peacekeeping; maritime governance; climate change; counter-terrorism; human rights; post-conflict stabilization; and overseas development assistance.

Our initial reports, Strengthening the U.S.-ROK Alliance, and Benchmarking America's Military Alliances, provide an introduction to this project.

Read the transcript from the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy's joint seminar with The Brookings Institution on "Opportunities for U.S.-ROK Alliance Cooperation: New Issues on the Agenda." In Asia features our public forum in Seoul co-hosted with the Asia Foundation Korea office and Friends of The Asia Foundation/Korea. The full transcript from our final seminar in this series, co-hosted with Brookings in Washington, is available here.


The Center for U.S.-Korea Policy and the Maureen & Mike Mansfield Foundation co-hosted a public symposium on issues surrounding the planned transfer of operational control (OPCON) in 2012 and implications for the U.S.-South Korea alliance. Event details are available here. Read the full transcript here.

Hwang Jin Ha, ROK Assemblyman, delivered a keynote address. The Center's March 2010 newsletter features an essay by Panelist Bruce Bechtol, Professor, Marine Corps Command and Staff College. Panelist Michael O'Hanlon, Director of Research and Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution, has written an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on U.S.-ROK command arrangements. Larry Niksch, Senior Associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has also presented a paper at the ROK Embassy in Washington on the question of OPCON transfer.


The Center for U.S.-Korea Policy and Korea Economic Institute co-hosted a conference on South Korea's Green Growth strategy, featuring a keynote address by Dr. Young Soo-gil, Chairman of South Korea's Presidential Committee on Green Growth. Event materials are available here.

Jill O'Donnell, former Junior Associate of The Asia Foundation, provides quarterly updates on bilateral developments related to green growth and climate change between the United States and South Korea. Her report on U.S.-ROK cooperation on climate change identifies emerging opportunities in light of Seoul's new green growth initiatives.


This joint project of the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy and the Stimson Center assesses prospects for U.S.-ROK nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear energy industry cooperation from both American and South Korean perspectives and in the context of global nonproliferation efforts. The project is supported by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI).

Papers presented at our U.S.-ROK January 2010 workshop covered the global nonproliferation environment (Brian Finlay, James Kwon); bilateral cooperation on nonproliferation (Chen Kane, Bong-geun Jun); nuclear energy cooperation (Sharon Squassoni, Kee-chan Song); and South Korea's nuclear energy export sector (Mark Holt, Jae-min Ahn). The second workshop on Nuclear Fuel Cycles and Nonproliferation in July 2010 featured presentations on ROK nuclear energy and nonproliferation policies (Moon-Hee Chang); global trends in nuclear power and nonproliferation policy (Sharon Squassoni); spent fuel management strategies (Charles McCombie); the technical agenda for U.S.-ROK nuclear cooperation (Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress); the U.S. approach to nuclear cooperation agreements (Kenneth Brill); and future prospects of bilateral cooperation (Cheon Seongwhun).

Read our report by Fred McGoldrick, Bengelsdorf, McGoldrick & Associates, LLC, "New U.S.-ROK Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: A Precedent for a New Global Nuclear Architecture."


In collaboration with the Seoul-based East Asia Institute, this project considers the role and influence of domestic stakeholders in the U.S.-ROK alliance, including the media (Gi-Wook Shin, Alyson Slack), the private sector (Troy Stangarone, Chiwook Kim), and civil society (Andrew Yeo, Jongryn Mo), and the respective influences on the alliance of the U.S. Congress and the ROK National Assembly. 


Director Scott Snyder testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment, and Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, on North Korea's Nuclear and Missile Tests and Six Party Talks. The Center for U.S.-Korea Policy has also produced a comprehensive report on U.S.-ROK cooperation on potential instability in North Korea. Edward Reed, The Asia Foundation's Korea Representative, has published a chapter "From Charity to Partnership: South Korean NGO Engagement with North Korea," in the new book Engagement with North Korea: A Viable Alternative (September 2009, SUNY Press). Scott Snyder discusses "Kim Jong-il's Successor Dilemmas" in The Washington Quarterly (January 2010). In the current issue of the International Journal of Korean Unification Studies, Scott Snyder and See-Won Byun examine U.S. policy toward North Korean instability. 

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