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  • Author: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The new national security leaders in Japan, the United States, China and the two Koreas have assumed office at a precarious time. Despite the recent relaxation of tensions, conditions are ripe for further conflict in Northeast Asia. The new DPRK leadership is as determined as its predecessor to possess nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles while resisting unification or reconciliation with South Korea and its allies. The new government in Tokyo is also augmenting its military capabilities. Meanwhile, despite Chinese efforts to restart the Six-Party Talks, the Obama administration has refused to engage with the DPRK until it demonstrates a willingness to end its nuclear weapons program and improving intra-Korean ties. But this policy of patiently waiting for verifiable changes in DPRK policies may be too passive in the face of North Korea' s growing military capabilities, leading the new South Korean government, striving to maneuver between Beijing and Washington, to consider new initiatives to restart a dialogue with the North even while reinforcing its own military capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Korea
  • Author: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The end of President Barack Obama's first term provides an opportunity to assess what the administration's "strategic rebalancing" toward and within the Asia-Pacific region (sometimes called the "Asian Pivot" or "Back to Asia" policy) has accomplished as well as what challenges and unmet opportunities remain. The administration has launched several successful multinational diplomatic initiatives in the region to supplement U.S. bilateral ties with key Asian partners; relations with ASEAN have clearly improved. The economic dimension of the Pivot has made progress as seen by the growth of support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. U.S. efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Asia have proved far less successful, except perhaps for Myanmar, where the political transition remains a work in progress. The U.S. military has managed to establish a broader presence in the region, especially in Australia and Southeast Asia. U.S. officials have sought to impart new energy into the five existing formal U.S. bilateral defense alliances in Asia--with Australia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, and South Korea. But the main problem with the pivot has been the inability to overcome Chinese anxiety about U.S. rebalancing, which has complicated their cooperation over North Korea and other issues. Fortunately, relations between the United States and South Korea are also strong. The ROK is becoming an important U.S. partner in several dimensions of the Pivot, though ROK-U.S. differences over North Korea might emerge with the advent of a new government in Seoul.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, Australia, Thailand
  • Author: Mel Gurtov
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The wars in Korea and Vietnam were of a piece, directly related by virtue of U.S. global strategy and China's security concerns. This article, focusing mainly on the U.S. side in these wars, argues that three characteristics of American policy had enduring meaning for the rest of the Cold War and even beyond: the official mindsets that led to U.S. involvement, the centrality of the China threat in American decision making, and the common legacy of intervention against nationalism and in support of authoritarian regimes.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Asia, Vietnam, Korea
  • Author: Bruce Klingner
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S.–South Korean security alliance has been indispensable in achieving Washington's strategic objectives and maintaining peace and stability in northeast Asia. A confluence of developments, however, is forcing changes in the alliance. These factors include a changing threat environment, an evolving U.S. military strategy, and South Korea's desire for greater autonomy as a result of its improving military and economic capabilities. It is important that the alliance begin the evolution from a singularly focused mission to a more robust values-based relationship that looks beyond the Korean Peninsula. Without substantial and sustained involvement by the senior political and military leadership, the alliance may not be sufficiently adapted to the new threat environment, including as a hedge against Chinese military modernization. The U.S. and South Korean administrations must also provide a clear strategic vision of the enduring need for the alliance and implement a robust public diplomacy program to prevent the erosion of public and legislative support. The plan to develop a U.S.–South Korean strategic alliance is a testament both to the successes of the long-standing military relationship and to the shared values of the two democracies.
  • Topic: Economics, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Young Whan Kihl
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: As an era of the Bush's controversial foreign policy and security responses to the post-9.11 war on terrorism is drawing to a close, the DPRK nuclear issue is flaring up once again. The stalemate is setting in on both fronts of inter-Korean relations, with the launching of the new Lee Myung-Bak Administration in the South, and on the Six-Party Talks process of the DPRK nuclear disablement. The paper addresses the Bush Administration policy shift away from the hardline posture toward a more pragmatic and diplomatic direction in the twilight of the second term in office, asymmetry of power and stalemate in inter-Korean relations, following vicious anti-Lee Myung-Bak rhetoric of the DPRK, with concerns over the North's economic stagnation and failed relations with the South. The notion of peace-building on the Korean Peninsula, as an imagined task for Korea's future, is treated as premature. The security forum based on the “process-oriented” approach to Korean peace seems better suited as an instrument for the DPRK nuclear dismantlement. The paper closes with few speculations on the future prospects and problems of bringing about an ultimate aim of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula with security and peace that requires restoring the viability of the NPT regime and the DPRK reversal on its withdrawal stance.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Asia, Korea
  • Author: Terence Roehrig
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: There is little doubt that portions of the strategic and economic paradigm in East Asia and for U.S.-East Asia relations have in general been changing in dramatic ways for the past ten to fifteen years. Several contributing factors are well known: China's economic rise along with the potential strategic and political role it is likely to play in the future; the possibility of a more assertive Japan that may revise its constitution in an effort to become a “normal” country; and South Korea, in possession of greater economic, military and political power accompanied by the confidence to be a more significant player in the region. Moreover, even the notion of “East Asia” may be less and less relevant as economic integration is no longer bound by old geographic delineations, particularly with the region's growing economic and political ties with Southeast Asia and India, ties that are breaking down some of these regional distinctions. Finally, the United States is facing a more confident and multipolar Asia that is organizing to play a greater role in controlling its future and increasingly will require a different approach than in the past.
  • Political Geography: United States, India, East Asia, Asia, Angola, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Robert Sutter
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This article assesses recent developments and the current state of play in China's relations with South Korea in order to test the widely publicized proposition that China's rise in Asia is being accompanied by an emerging China-centered regional order that is marginalizing the influence of the previous regional leader, the United States. A careful analysis of China's relations with its various neighboring countries in recent years shows that China has made the most significant gains in relations with South Korea, and these gains have coincided with a decline in US influence in South Korea brought on by major difficulties in the South Korean-US alliance relationship. Thus, if China's rise is leading to a China-centered order in Asia that marginalizes the influence of the United States, the trends in the South Korean- China relationship in the context of South Korean-US developments should provide important evidence and indicators.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Young Whan Kihl
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: South Korea is a trailblazer on the path toward liberal democracy in Asia. Following the 1987 democratic "opening" and transition, the Republic of Korea (ROK) has moved on toward democratic consolidation with a series of drastic reform measures. It moved on to "deepening" democracy and ambitious institution building. As a result, Korea is today recognized internationally as both a thriving democracy and a vibrant capitalist economy. Freedom House Country Ratings continue to place South Korea in the ranking of a liberal democracy, with an average score of 2.0. The ratings for 2005 gave South Korea an average of 1.5 for the two categories of "political rights" and "civil liberties" on a "freedom scale" of 1 to 7, where 1 represents the highest degree of freedom and 7 the lowest. In 2004, South Korea emerged as the 10th largest economy in the world, with a GDP of US$667.4 billion and a per capita GNP of US$16,900.
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Samuel S. Kim
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: There has been much talk lately about the changing role of China on the Korean peninsula. China's proactive diplomacy during the second standoff over nuclear weapons between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) stands in marked contrast to the risk-averse “who me?” posture it held during the conflict of the early 1990s that culminated in the U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework on October 21, 1994. In that earlier conflict, the Chinese opted to sit on the sidelines with the familiar refrain that this was a dispute to be resolved bilaterally between Washington and Pyongyang. In the latest (second) nuclear standoff, China has played the primary catalytic role of facilitating bi-trilateral (DPRK-U.S.-China) and multilateral six-nation dialogues among all the Northeast Asian concerned states, drawing North Korea into a sui generis regional multilateral setting that it had previously sworn off in a quest for bilateral negotiations with the United States. In this process, the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have increasingly come into virtual geopolitical alignment, in tandem with the straining and fracturing of the ROK-US alliance.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Washington, Asia, Korea, Pyongyang
  • Author: Robert Sutter
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Beginning in 2003, Chinese leaders began a new stage in China's efforts to define China's approach toward its neighboring countries and what China's approach meant for the United States and US interests in Asia and the world. Premier Wen Jiabao addressed the topic of China's peaceful rise in a speech in New York on December 9, 2003. Despite such high level pronouncements, the exact purpose and scope of the new emphasis on China's “peaceful rise” remained less than clear to Chinese and foreign specialists. Consultations in May 2004 with 50 Chinese officials and non-government specialists closely involved in this issue helped to clarify the state of play in Chinese decision-making circles regarding China's peaceful rise and what it meant for China's approach to Korea and the rest of Asia and for US interests and policy in the region.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, Korea