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Center for U.S.-Korea Policy

 

Inter-Korean Tensions and the Risks of ‘Friendly Fire’

June 22, 2011

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Two South Korean marines guarding an island near the West Sea demarcation line that has been the site of several inter-Korean incidents in recent years last Friday mistakenly shot their K-2 rifles at a Korean civilian airliner traveling from Chengdu with 119 passengers on board…

 

Korea’s 97 Billion Dollar Question: What is Green Growth?

June 15, 2011

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In an interview with the Korea Herald earlier this year, Hur Dong-Soo, CEO of Korea’s GS Caltex, called his company’s investments in heavy-oil upgrading facilities a “green growth business.” As the phrase “green growth” becomes ever more common

 

Blowout in Inter-Korean Relations

June 3, 2011

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North Korea’s National Defense Commission yesterday released a rare public statement on inter-Korean relations in response to Lee Myung-Bak’s May 9 Berlin speech inviting Kim Jong Il to attend next year’s Nuclear Security Summit.

 

A Human Rights Envoy to Assess North Korea’s Food Situation

May 25, 2011

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At a State Department briefing earlier this week, the spokesman stated that U.S. Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea Ambassador Robert King may be tasked to lead a food assessment mission to North Korea. This announcement comes following a round of consultations…

 

The North Korea Food Aid Debate

May 11, 2011

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There has been a protracted debate over whether the United States should give food assistance in response to North Korea’s appeals for assistance from earlier this year, with an exchange between Stephan Haggard and Lee Jong Cheol as the most recent example.

 

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Coordinating Among U.S. Allies

April 27, 2011

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NHK live broadcasts on the tsunami that swept coastal villages in Eastern Japan on March 11 were a shocking scene to the Korean people. Japan now confronts the aftermath of triple natural disasters – an earthquake of a record 9.0 magnitude, a devastating tsunami, and the threat of radioactive contamination…

 

U.S.-South Korean Nuclear Relationship: After Fukushima

March 30, 2011

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I was a last-minute substitute speaker this week on the U.S.-South Korean nuclear relationship at the Carnegie Endowment’s 2011 Nuclear Policy Conference.The focus of our panel on “U.S. Nuclear Cooperation: How and With Whom?” was on issues surrounding a new U.S.-ROK nuclear cooperation…

 

Shaky Restart to Inter-Korean Talks

February 9, 2011

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Less than three months after North Korea’s shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island, North and South Korea opened preliminary, colonel-level talks yesterday to set an agenda and date for ministerial-level defense talks. However, the talks adjourned without reaching an agreement, raising questions about prospects for renewed diplomacy…

 

Hu-Obama Summit: Implications for Managing North Korea

February 2, 2011

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Both North and South Koreans appear to have had disproportionately high expectations in the run-up to last week’s Hu-Obama summit, judging from their reluctant willingness to edge toward tension reduction and dialogue following the November 23rd Yeonpyeong Island artillery shelling…

 

Building Regional Stability on the Korean Peninsula: A Chinese Perspective

January 19, 2011

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Recent turbulence on the Korean Peninsula raises several key questions: What is the best way to assure stability there? How can the U.S.-ROK alliance play its due role while still being perceived as a stabilizer by other stakeholders, and how can China positively interact with the two allies? If China still feels that the “evidence” that the ROK-led investigation secured regarding the Cheonan’s sinking…

 

China’s Rise and the U.S.-ROK Security Alliance

January 5, 2011

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The East Asia Institute has just published my critique of an earlier paper by Dong Sun Lee and Sung Eun Kim, which concludes that ratification of the KORUS FTA will not “markedly reinforce” the U.S.-ROK security alliance. I agree with that conclusion, but I think that the KORUS FTA provides an important strategic message of psychological support fo… Read more

 

[REPORT] North Korea’s Provocations and their Impact on Northeast Asian Regional Security

January 5, 2011

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In a new report published by The Asia Foundation’s Center for U.S.-Korea Policy, Research Associate See-Won Byun assesses regional security in Northeast Asia in the aftermath of the Cheonan sinking and the Yeonpyeong artillery barrage. The report focuses on dynamics among the United States, China, and the two Koreas. Read an excerpt below, or downl… Read more

 

China’s Call for Six Party Talks: Cynical or Naïve?

December 1, 2010

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China’s response to North Korea’s artillery shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island last week has been relatively rapid compared to the slowness of its response to the sinking last March (it took three weeks for the Chinese government to express its condolences in response to the sinking of the Cheonan). But, as underscored in Sunday’s New York… Read more

 

Obama in Seoul: Underscoring the Sino-U.S. Gap on North Korea

November 17, 2010

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Although the main stories of the Obama visit to Korea revolved around the gap between the United States and China on global rebalancing issues at the G-20 and the failure of Presidents Obama and Lee to tee up the KORUS FTA, a third issue arose that dramatizes Sino-U.S. differences over the Korean peninsula. At a Veterans’ Day event with U.S. troops… Read more

 

UN Sanctions and their Impact on North Korea

October 27, 2010

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The Office of Senator Richard Lugar has released the latest Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874, along with a statement that “the findings include a stark reminder that U.S. and China interests regarding North Korea are largely incongruent. While the United States presses for elimin… Read more

 

The Seoul G20 Summit

October 13, 2010

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A major, largely overlooked development of the recent financial crisis has been the emergence of the G20 as the informal steering committee of the world economy. In recent decades that function had been played by the G7, a group of rich industrial democracies. The shift from the G7 to the G20 signals the growing pluralism of world affairs, and the… Read more

 

Apparent Heir: Kim Jong Un’s Ascension and the Challenge to South Korea

October 13, 2010

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Having spent the past week in Seoul in the aftermath of the September 28 Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) conference and on the eve of the unprecedented 65th anniversary celebrations of the WPK’s founding, I was struck by just how few facts South Korean analysts (and the rest of the world!) yet have at their disposal in analyzing the latest North Kore… Read more

 

YaleGlobal: North Korea’s Succession Poses New Challenges

October 6, 2010

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Ten years ago, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea, snubbed China’s defense minister on the 50th anniversary of the entry of the Chinese people’s volunteers into the Korean War: Instead, Kim Jong Il hosted the first-ever visit by a U.S. secretary of state, Madeleine Albright. A mirror image of that snub was recently delivered… Read more

 

The Cheonan Incident and its Impact on Regional Security

September 1, 2010

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I spent last week at several meetings in Tokyo, Seoul, and Jeju that revolved around the Cheonan incident and its implications for regional security. The Lee Myung-Bak administration got high marks for its handling of the immediate aftermath of the incident. It is important to remember that in the hours following the Cheonan’s sinking on March 26th… Read more

 

No Winners from the Sinking of the Cheonan

August 4, 2010

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Two months ago, the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan appeared to mark a turning point in inter-Korean relations. The South Korean interim investigation identified a North Korean torpedo as the cause of the sinking, providing South Korea and the United States with a strong case to take the issue to the UN Security Council and hold North… Read more

 

Scott Snyder Directs CFR Task Force, Says North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program Must be Stopped

June 16, 2010

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On June 15, The Asia Foundation’s Center for U.S.-Korea Policy director Scott Snyder, along with a “task force” composed of roughly two dozen experts, released a landmark report: U.S. Policy toward the Korean Peninsula, which emphasizes that “despite the difficulty of the challenge, the danger posed by North Korea is sufficiently severe, and the co… Read more

 

The Cheonan Investigation: Interim Results and South Korean Policy Options

May 19, 2010

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The Washington Post reports that interim results of a South Korea-led international investigation into the March 26th sinking of the 1,200-ton corvette Cheonan near Baek-ryong Island are due to be released by the South Korean government on Thursday morning (Wednesday evening EST). The report, which concludes on the basis of strong circumstantial fo… Read more

 

Northeast Asian Public Views: Isolated North Korea; Good Vibes Between Japan and South Korea

April 21, 2010

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The latest BBC/World Service Poll conducted in January and released earlier this week has some results in Northeast Asia that offer some food for thought—at least for anyone who thinks that public views are a potentially decisive influence on foreign policy. The two most notable results in Northeast Asia are the precipitous rise in negative Chinese… Read more

 

Green Growth Brings New Dimension to U.S.-ROK Alliance

March 24, 2010

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The recent news from Korea that the country is stepping up cooperation with Denmark on energy efficient and renewable technologies marked the latest triumph in President Lee Myung-bak’s push to build international support for his green growth vision. In Seoul, Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen said that Korea’s green growth plan can serve as a m… Read more

 

South Korea’s Emerging Global Security Role

March 24, 2010

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The government of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has adopted the catchphrase “Global Korea” to signify its desire to play a more assertive role as a contributor to the international community. The same aspiration is reflected in South Korea’s emerging approach to global security issues as reflected in its 2008 Defense White Paper, which state… Read more

 

Scott Snyder Addresses U.S.-North Korea Stalemate

March 17, 2010

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The Council on Foreign Relations interviews Scott Snyder, Director of The Asia Foundation’s Center for U.S.-Korea Policy, on the possibility of a visit by North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il to China. Snyder wonders if such a visit would include China’s urging North Korea to return to the Six Party Talks, which have been at a standstill since last December…. Read more

 

Korea Responds to Earthquake in Haiti

January 20, 2010

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Korea’s immediate commitment of $10 million in assistance to Haiti and the response by corporations and the Korean public is impressive. Clearly Koreans want to help, but how can they be sure that their aid will be most effective? In an emergency of this scale and complexity, and in a relatively limited area, the most important thing is coordinatio… Read more

 

North and South Korean New Year’s Resolutions

January 13, 2010

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North Korea has traditionally utilized the new year to set priorities and provide guidance to its people. Under Kim Jong Il, this guidance has come out in the form of a combined New Year’s editorial published by three major media outlets. South Korean presidents have also used a New Year’s speech outlining major priorities. North Korea’s joint edit… Read more

 

North Korea’s H1N1 Watch: Isolation Vs. Contagion

December 16, 2009

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For a country that appears to be so isolated from the outside world, North Korea seems to have been on edge for months regarding the possible impact of swine flu (H1N1) on its population. These rumors of North Korean anxiety have been underscored by an unusual admission last week of nine confirmed cases of swine flu in Pyongyang and Sinuiju (the WH… Read more

 

Dispatch from Pyongyang: An Offer You Can’t Refuse!

December 9, 2009

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Every North Korean seems to have been mobilized for an all-out push to mark their country’s arrival as a “strong and powerful nation” in 2012, which marks the 100th anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birth, Kim Jong Il’s 70th birthday, and the 30th birthday of Kim Jong Il’s third son and reported successor, Kim Jong-Eun. Pyongyang citizens have cleaned u… Read more

 

Obama to South Korea

November 18, 2009

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We welcome President Barack Obama with open arms, not just out of customary habit among friends. South Koreans share the world’s interest in President Obama’s global activities because he embodies a new path for the United States in international relations as well as in ties with old allies like us. Quality of life has been fundamentally transforme… Read more

 

Korea’s Challenge and Opportunity as Chair of the G20

November 18, 2009

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South Korea is highly motivated to play the roles of host and chair of the G20 in 2010, following Britain’s chairmanship in 2009. This is a historic moment since it will be the first time that a non-G7 country has been engaged in leading global financial coordination efforts. There is much at stake for Korea and for the international community prec… Read more

 

Challenges and Opportunities Converge: Exploring the U.S.-Korea Alliance

November 11, 2009

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President Obama will also visit Korea on this trip against a backdrop of tensions between North and South Korea after a naval skirmish and just-announced plans to send special envoy Stephen Bosworth to Pyongyang in the near future. On the heels of the joint vision statement between South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak and President Obama in June,… Read more

 

Asia Foundation Seoul Office Hosts Seminar on U.S.-Korea Alliance

November 4, 2009

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Today, November 4, the Foundation’s office in Seoul opened a seminar there to assess prospects for expanding the U.S.-ROK alliance into new areas of cooperation. Three presentations focused on international peacekeeping, overseas development assistance, and maritime security. Co-hosted by the Foundation’s Center for U.S. Korea Policy (CUSKP), this… Read more

 

New Issues on the Agenda: U.S.-ROK Alliance Cooperation

October 21, 2009

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On November 4, a seminar jointly hosted by The Asia Foundation’s Center for U.S.-Korea Policy and the Foundation’s office in Korea will convene in Seoul to address opportunities for expanding the U.S.-ROK alliance in international peacekeeping, overseas development assistance, and maritime security. The Seoul seminar is being supported by the Frien… Read more

 

EVENT: The Financial Crisis and ‘Soft Power’

October 21, 2009

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The world economy is slowly recovering but the effects of the financial disaster are far-reaching, especially for the U.S. Besides the immediate impact of the crisis on economic growth and employment, there are serious questions about America’s confidence in its global leadership and the future of its relationship with Asia. On October 23, Douglas… Read more

 

Opportunities for U.S.-ROK Alliance Cooperation: New Issues on the Agenda

October 14, 2009

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The “Joint Vision for the Alliance of the United States of America and the Republic of Korea,” released by Presidents Barack Obama and Lee Myung-bak on June 16, 2009, forged a new agenda for the U.S.-ROK alliance extending to cooperation on common challenges beyond traditional security. Earlier this month, The Asia Foundation’s Center for U.S.-Kore… Read more

 

Wen Jiabao Gets the Red Carpet Treatment From Kim Jong Il

October 7, 2009

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Days following the conclusion of China’s 60th anniversary celebration of its founding, Premier Wen Jiabao brought a high-powered delegation to Pyongyang to mark the 60th anniversary of Sino-DPRK ties and to facilitate a dialogue on North Korea’s nuclear issues with Kim Jong Il. This exceptionally large delegation of Chinese senior officials receive… Read more

 

Engagement With North Korea: A Viable Alternative

September 30, 2009

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A new book Engagement with North Korea: A Viable Alternative released in September 2009, by SUNY Press, features a chapter written by The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative in Seoul, Edward Reed. Dr. Reed’s chapter, “From Charity to Partnership: South Korean NGO Engagement with North Korea,” discusses the contribution of South Korean NGOs in… Read more

 

Korean Leadership in the G20 and the U.S.-ROK Alliance

September 23, 2009

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As global leaders convene in Pittsburgh to address the global economic crisis for the third time in less than a year, there is cause for both optimism and a heavy sense of responsibility to sustain early signs of a global recovery. Follow-up measures from Pittsburgh within the G20 will fall primarily to South Korea as the chair and host of G20 meet… Read more

 

The Challenge of Preparing for Instability in North Korea

September 16, 2009

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In North Korea’s totalitarian system, political stability depends on the health of the leader more than on any other factor. For this reason, Kim Jong Il’s rumored health problems have drawn careful scrutiny since he failed to appear almost exactly one year ago at public events marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s… Read more

 

Clinton to Pyongyang

August 5, 2009

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Bill Clinton’s dramatic mission to secure the release of two American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee following North Korea’s harsh verdict regarding their unauthorized entry into North Korea has succeeded on multiple fronts, based on criteria for success I offered yesterday: 1) the visit secured the release of the two journalists, 2) the visit… Read more

 

What if North Korea Says No?

July 22, 2009

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“The premise underlying the question of what do we do if North Korea says no is that we are still waiting for a North Korean answer…. It is North Korea’s pursuit of escalation that has foreclosed dialogue possibilities for now as Pyongyang, for a variety of domestic and international reasons, attempts to lock in its nuclear status as a fait accom… Read more

 

“North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile Tests and Six-Party Talks: Where Do We Go From Here?”

June 17, 2009

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Snyder on The Six Party Process: A Regional Framework for North Korea’s Denuclearization: “North Korea’s unilateral pursuit of nuclear weapons capabilities over the last two decades has ironically been a primary catalyst for strengthened regional cooperation in Northeast Asia. But this cooperation has thus far been insufficient to deter North Korea… Read more

 

Second Nuclear Test: North Korea Does What it Says

May 27, 2009

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North Korea did exactly what it said it would do on May 25, 2009, when it conducted a nuclear test as promised in its April 28 statement in response to UN sanctions imposed on three North Korean firms in accordance with an April 13 UN Security Council Presidential Statement condemning North Korea’s April 5, 2009, missile test. The test furthers Nor… Read more

 

South Korea’s Roh Moo-hyun: An Impossible Idealist

May 27, 2009

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The death of Roh Moo-hyun, the 16th president of the Republic of Korea (2003-2008), is a huge shock to South Korea’s political world. A human rights lawyer with no college degree, Roh campaigned to revolutionize Korean politics and society by promoting clean politics, fighting corruption, and challenging personal and elite ties as the basis for adv… Read more

 

North Korea’s “Never-Never” Land: Prospects for Getting Diplomacy Back on Track

May 13, 2009

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Within hours following an April 14, 2009, United Nations Security Council presidential statement condemning North Korea’s missile launch, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) foreign ministry responded by stating that “six-party talks have lost the meaning of their existence, never to recover,” and that the “DPRK will never participate… Read more

 

A Comprehensive Vision for the U.S.-Korea Alliance

April 22, 2009

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The conventional wisdom among Asia specialists on both sides of the aisle has been that there would be little need for change in a new administration’s policy toward Asia. At the same time, there is no question that America’s preoccupation with Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East has prioritized the question of how America’s Asian allies might m… Read more

 

UN Security Council Response to North Korea’s Missile Test: Washington’s Policy Debate

April 15, 2009

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North Korea’s efforts to exploit divisions among members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in its response to its April 5, 2009 test of a multi-stage rocket has proven to be a slightly harder political target than some in Pyongyang may have anticipated…read more. Scott Snyder is The Asia Foundation’s Senior Associate and Director of the… Read more

 

North Korea’s Missile Test: Off-Target?

April 8, 2009

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North Korea’s launch of a multi-stage rocket has been assessed by international experts as a technical failure, but the test has been at least a partial success in hitting four political targets: North Korea’s domestic audience, exploitation of international divisions among members of the six party talks, testing of the newly-established Obama admi… Read more

 

Korean Hopes for U.S. Leadership under Barack Obama

March 11, 2009

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History will record November 2008 as the crucial turning point for launching a new global order. No one knows what would exactly be the form of that order, but everyone seems to be in agreement that the existing international order cannot be sustained in light of two stunning developments. First, troubles in the U.S. financial market ignited a glob… Read more

 

Korea and The Asia Foundation: Partners for Development Effectiveness

February 11, 2009

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After rapidly rising from poverty to the ranks of advanced industrial economies, Korea is now committed to becoming an important contributor to the economic development and stability of the less developed countries of the world. In January, the Korean government submitted its formal application for membership in the Development Assistance Committee… Read more

 

New Book: China’s Rise and the Two Koreas

January 28, 2009

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Scott Snyder, Senior Associate in International Relations at The Asia Foundation, explores the transformation of the Sino–South Korean relationship since the early 1990s in his new book, China’s Rise and the Two Koreas: Politics, Economics, Security. Snyder considers the strategic significance of recent developments in China’s relationship with bot… Read more