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  • Author: Gilbert Rozman
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korean Economic Institute (KEI)
  • Abstract: Of five alternative approaches to addressing the North Korean threat to stability in East Asia and beyond, this section is concerned with the possibility of just one—a diplomatic approach via Three-Way Talks among China, South Korea, and the United States. We single out this approach as the golden mean for reconciling the conflicting interests among the parties best positioned to reshape the calculus of Pyongyang. It represents the path to compromise. Among the alternatives, there is the Chinese appeal for a dual-track approach through Six-Party Talks, aimed at a peace treaty on terms attractive to North Korea and greatly transformative to the security architecture in Northeast Asia. This could hardly be called a compromise, since Seoul and Washington regard this as a win for Pyongyang and evidence that Beijing actually has been siding with Pyongyang. Another alternative is Strategic Patience, which is a misnomer for the policy of the Obama administration, but, in any case, refers mainly to reliance on increased deterrence as pressure is ratcheted up. In fact, Obama was seeking a pathway to three-way talks, giving China time to shift in that direction bolstered by new sanctions, while in 2016 also moving closer to a fourth approach: Unilateral Sanctions targeted at the Chinese firms assisting North Korea. A fifth option is Alliance Triangularity to force change in Pyongyang.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Gilbert Rozman
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Korean Economic Institute (KEI)
  • Abstract: While the other parts of this book bring China fully into the coverage—diplomacy, national identities, and sanctions—here we narrow the focus on U.S.-ROK relations with an eye to the current uncertainty about the future of the KORUS FTA, the five-year old bilateral trade agreement. Donald Trump has assumed the presidency critical of trade imbalances in goods, including assertions about the negative impact of the FTA with South Korea. It appears that the U.S. side will insist on renegotiating the agreement. In order to assess what this could mean, we take a close look at what the impact of KORUS has been and at how the debate in Washington has been unfolding under Trump’s watch. The three chapters were written in the early spring of 2017; so they could capture only the initial impact of Trump at a time when South Korean leadership was paralyzed between impeachment and the election of a new president without any serious bilateral engagement over economic issues. Yet, as tensions over economics are expected to rise, our objective is to inform the discussion with relevant economic background and with awareness of what Trump has been saying and how it may shape the political debate.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: America, Korea