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  • Author: Christos G. Frentzos
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: After the United States, the Republic of Korea sent more troops to Vietnam than any other nation. Approximately 325,000 South Korean soldiers served in Vietnam between 1964 and 1973. Although the Korean military and economy benefited substantially from the conflict, the war also left some deep scars on the national psyche. While the government did not permit public criticism of the war in the 1960s and 1970s, South Koreans have now finally begun to confront their troubled Vietnam legacy. Often referred to as Korea’s “forgotten war,” the Vietnam Conflict has recently made its way into Korean popular culture through movies, novels and songs about the war. Increased freedom and democracy has created an environment where both the Korean government and the people have begun to openly discuss issues such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and alleged wartime atrocities committed by South Korean servicemen. This paper will analyze some of the more controversial aspects of Korea’s involvement in the Vietnam War and examine how South Koreans themselves have addressed these issues both officially and within their popular culture during the last few decades.
  • Topic: War, History, Culture, Media, Conflict, Atrocities, Vietnam War, Veterans
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, United States of America
  • Author: Thomas Petri
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United States Marine Corps’ 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, (ANGLICO) supported the U.S. Army and allied units in the Republic of Vietnam from 1965 to 1973. In the summer of 1966, ten officers and 75 enlisted Marines were assigned to the 2 nd Republic of Korea Marine Corps Brigade. This paper recounts my tour of duty as a tactical air controller with the brigade’s 1 st Battalion from 1966 to 1968. I rotated among the battalion’s three companies and reconnaissance platoon, directing air strikes, coordinating helicopter resupply and arranging medical evacuations. My responsibilities allowed me to work alongside the company commander and fire support coordinator; my rank enabled me to interact with the company’s noncommissioned officers and enlisted Marines. Together we fought the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong in nameless rice paddies and jungle choked heights, forging a legend that would define the fighting spirit that has become synonymous with the reputation and respect earned by Korea’s magnificent Marines. Throughout my association with the Blue Dragon Brigade, I have always been impressed with the leadership, training and discipline infused at every level of command. Employing two incidents of mortal combat as a vehicle to demonstrate these attributes, I attempt to convey the admiration and respect I hold for my brother Marines from the Land of the Morning Calm.
  • Topic: History, Armed Forces, Conflict, Memoir, Vietnam War
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, United States of America
  • Author: Michael MacArthur Bosack
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United Nations Command is the multinational headquarters that led the allied forces in the Korean War. The command’s Military Armistice Commission supervises the Armistice Agreement. While the United Nations Command and its activities are common knowledge in the Republic of Korea, the command’s long-standing organization and functions in Japan are less well known. This relationship began in 1950 and is codified in the 1954 United Nations-Japan Status of Forces Agreement. The command’s rear area headquarters, the aptly named United Nations Command-Rear Headquarters, has managed this relationship since 1957. After decades of few changes, the United Nations Command and its Sending States broadened traditional roles and missions from Japan beginning in the early 2000s. This led to expanded activities within the legal framework and security mandate governing the United Nations Command’s relationship with Japan, strengthening Japan’s ties with the command’s member states, and supporting the “maximum pressure” campaign against North Korea. This paper examines the relationship between the United Nations Command and Japan, beginning with the institutions and interests underpinning the relationship. Next, it describes the Status of Forces Agreement and how the relationship functions. The paper concludes with a discussion of relevant policy issues, limitations to greater cooperation, and opportunities for expanded roles within the framework of the relationship.
  • Topic: International Relations, History, Military Affairs, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United Nations, United States of America
  • Author: Jonathan Lim
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper conceptualizes the emerging détente within inter-Korean relations as evidence of tangible transformations within North Korea’s domestic and foreign policy, establishing how this phenomenon represents a unique and conclusive opportunity for peace and engagement. It contextualizes the inter-Korean and Singapore summits as foundations for the détente, before expanding upon the nature of the détente through the contrasting objectives of North and South Korea, and the transitional nature of domestic affairs in North Korea. The article establishes the bona fide nature of North Korea’s détente, as revealed by a direct connection between North Korea’s international diplomatic gestures vis-av-vis transitional domestic circumstances; involving incremental economic modernization and political liberalization under a shift in focus within Kim Jong-un’s Byungjin Line policy. This analysis departs from and orthodox Western interpretation of inter-Korean relations, providing a holistic analysis of inter-Korean affairs and North Korean domestic politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Singapore
  • Author: J. Marshall Unger
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: On the basis of the comparative method, developed over more than two centuries of empirical study, the best results to date are that the presentday Korean and Japanese languages had a common source, called protoKorean-Japanese. Korean and Japanese are more similar to one another than either is to any of the languages spoken in adjacent parts of Asia. That is as far as pure linguistics takes us at present. Other scientific disciplines must be utilized to determine when and where proto-Korean-Japanese was spoken, when its speakers separated into pre-Korean and pre-Japanese groups, and when the descendants of those groups resumed contact on the Korean peninsula prior to the migration of most pre-Japanese speakers to Japan.
  • Topic: Migration, History, Linguistics, Language
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Jenna Gibson
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last decade, Western publics have gradually caught on to the Kpop phenomenon; the Korean Wave has arrived on European and North American shores and shows no signs of receding. Heightened interest has corresponded with increased mainstream media coverage, both among news and entertainment outlets. This article analyzes mainstream media coverage of the Korean Wave from 2009 to 2019, including an examination of overall trends in K-pop framing over time. This analysis suggests that coverage of K-pop in Western media has proceeded through four distinct stages of development: 1) Introductory Stage, 2) Gangnam Style Stage, 3) Korean Wave Stage, and 4) Mainstreaming Stage. This article also examines how the changing portrayal of K-pop for general audiences has corresponded with a similar evolution in portrayals of South Korea and Korean society as a whole.
  • Topic: Media, News Analysis, Soft Power, Music, popular culture
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Hyeri Jung
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper unravels dynamic interactions between Korean popular culture and its fans in the United States, focusing on how cultural hybridity of the Korean Wave un/consciously facilitates soft power, and what sociocultural implications it might yield in global/international contexts. Employing various theoretical frameworks of globalization, critical/cultural media studies, hybridity, soft power, and fan studies, I take a qualitative methodological approach of what I call a reversed media ethnography: Examining the contraflow of Korean media culture on U.S. fans. I employ various qualitative and interpretive techniques including grounded theory to analyze the rich corpus of data I collected over a period of two years to examine the nature of transcultural media and fans of the Korean Wave in the United States. Overall, the findings of this paper suggest that the complex layers of hybridity embedded in Korean popular culture creates complicated webs of transculturality. The Korean Wave exemplifies strategically well-balanced cultural hybridity that arouses a certain feeling of affinity: Emotional proximity. Korean popular culture evokes continuous negotiations of identities and generates nonthreatening wholesome content that comfortably appeals to American fans with various ethnic, racial, social, and cultural backgrounds. The notion of uriness (we-ness in English), collective unity and solidarity, embedded in Korean popular culture and its fandom culture works as one of the multifaceted soft power in the eyes of American fans that leads to an alternative post-Western soft power. This study contends that it is not the so-called hybridized Korean popular culture per se that makes it transcultural, and global to some extent, but the often under-recognized vital agents in the global sphere: Legions of fans.
  • Topic: Culture, Soft Power, Ethnography, Music
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dal Yong Jin, Ju Oak Kim
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The Korean unscripted format has recently reshaped media flows and practices on a global scale. This article, based upon a comparative analysis of Grandpas Over Flowers (tvN) and Better Late Than Never (NBC), explores how the Korean broadcasting industry has attracted Western broadcasting providers with its travel-based reality format, and how an American television network has produced its own version, negotiating the local specificity that the original series contained. Certainly, cultural differences in media production between the two societies are largely embedded in the localizing process. While Grandpas Over Flowers was dependent upon the long-standing friendship between veteran actors and their public images as fathers and grandfathers within society, Better Late Than Never employs veteran entertainers’ professional successes as the driving force for adventuring into exotic cultures in East Asia. This article claims that the Grandpas Over Flowers case evokes a new phase of the Korean Wave phenomenon, revealing a non-Western media player’s attempt at challenging the domination of United States and United Kingdom television formats in the global media industries.
  • Topic: Mass Media, Culture, Media, popular culture
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jieun Lee
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: In the midst of a worldwide fascination with Hallyu, South Korea’s cultural products, the popularity of K-pop and K-drama has soared to unprecedented levels. In New York City, Korean American playwright Jason Kim’s Off-Broadway musical KPOP (2017) brought K-pop music and dance to the stage. In the Twin Cities, a Hmong American playwright May Lee-Yang set her play, The Korean Drama Addict’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity (2018), within her Hmong ethnic background, as a romantic satire and homage to K-drama. While both plays function superbly as theatrical entertainment, I argue that these works serve as critical investigations into the methods of creating and disseminating K-pop and K-drama. Both theater pieces bring up issues of racial, gender, sexual, national, and ethnic identities as they reimagine Hallyu in North America and assess its impact on Asian America.
  • Topic: Culture, Ethnicity, Identities, Music, popular culture, Theater
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Soojin Ahn
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: As social media platforms such as YouTube have become important access points for Korean popular music (K-pop), international fans have enjoyed recording and sharing their responses to K-pop music videos on social media. In particular, reaction videos have been the most convenient and popular way for many international fans to share their opinions on and reactions to K-pop songs with others. This study aims to investigate the unique characteristics of reaction videos to share K-pop fans’ cultural experiences through YouTube videos and discuss the potential use of such fans’ learner motivation and learning environment for Korean language education. Four YouTube reaction videos were investigated through thematic analysis and through a discourse analysis informed by interactional sociolinguistics. The findings show how the reaction video creators build a community with other fans by establishing familiarity through agreement, considering the audience, and exchanging information, not only about a specific song, but also about K-pop in general and Korean Wave genres. These creators also demonstrated multiliteracies by expressing their opinions and feelings through facial expressions, visuals, and dance. These creators make their reaction videos regularly, proving their long-term enthusiasm for K-pop and the Korean Wave. This research offers important implications for future Korean language education, which will embrace diverse groups of international learners who actively participate in K-pop fan activities online.
  • Topic: Culture, Social Media, Language, Music, YouTube
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, South Korea, Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Kyle Ferrier
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: South Korea is at a critical crossroads. The future of the liberal international order, a major source of strength for Seoul, is unclear. President Donald Trump has repudiated the longstanding American role of upholding the liberal order. While Beijing has been quick to capitalize on this policy shift, the norms China seeks to promote either fall short of or run counter to the advancement of an open and rules-based international system. Although South Korea may be caught between these two great powers, it is by no means powerless to influence how international economic norms are advanced. To best meet its economic and even strategic interests, the Moon administration should begin negotiations to have South Korea join the remaining countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as the CPTPP.
  • Topic: International Relations, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Trans-Pacific Partnership, Free Trade, regionalism, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Troy Stangarone
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Following a relatively successful period for U.S.-South Korea economic relations under the Bush and Obama administrations, Washington and Seoul have entered a new period of economic tension in the Trump administration. Unlike prior U.S. presidents, who placed a priority on negotiating fair rules in the United States’ economic relationships, President Trump has prioritized outcomes. As a result, one of his administration’s earliest moves was to renegotiate the KORUS Free Trade Agreement. While the results of the renegotiation were modest, they may help to expand the sale of American automobiles in the Republic of Korea in the long-run. The largest outcome of the negotiations may be to protect the Ford Motor Company from South Korean competition in the U.S. market as the company transitions to sales focused on light trucks. While the renegotiation has eased tensions for the moment, the prospect of economic engagement with North Korea, the Trump administration’s continued use of national security to erect trade barriers, and the emergence of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles could result in growing tensions in the relationship.
  • Topic: Economics, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Negotiation, Free Trade, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: George Hutchinson
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The international community’s confrontation with North Korea reached crisis proportions in 2017, following Pyongyang’s ballistic missile launches and its sixth nuclear test. In the wake of a series of high-level summits, tensions began to thaw in 2018. At the inter-Korean summit in Panmunjom on April 27, 2018, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to seek support from the international community to denuclearize. But the international community, led by the U.S. in concert with the United Nations Security Council, has already worked tirelessly over the past 26 years to coordinate efforts to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. Successive U.S. administrations have worked through the cycle of confrontation, crisis, discussions and agreements with North Korea. Nonetheless, all these agreements have ultimately fallen apart, allowing North Korea to advance its nuclear program. This paper focuses on two key questions: How has the international community contributed toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, and what is its role in facilitating the complete, verifiable dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear program? Ultimately, the success of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula will be measured by whether North Korea completely dismantles its nuclear program. Fortunately, the international “tools” are on the table, but successfully denuclearizing North Korea will, in the end, be a matter of effectively enforcing existing international measures.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, United Nations, Sanctions, Nonproliferation, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Phillip C. Shon
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Previous works on parricide have been primarily based on North American and European contexts, to the near exclusion of other nations, sociocultural contexts, and time periods. Using newspaper accounts of parricide from the Chosun Ilbo, this paper aims to examine the sources of conflict between parents and their offspring in preindustrial South Korea. The findings reveal that arguments, financial disputes, and discipline are notable sources of conflict in South Korean parricides. Additionally, the results suggest that parricides in South Korea are shaped by Confucian value systems.
  • Topic: Crime, Culture, Conflict, Parricide, Confucianism
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Justin Malzac
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The historiography of the one of the most significant events of the “Park Chung-hee Era” has changed little in the past decades. Recent research does not analyze the agency of Park and his fellow coup makers. It has largely been taken for granted that Park was the architect and leader of the May 16th coup that eventually brought him to power. However, in 2015, new interviews with Kim Jong-pil were released that strongly contradicted much of the traditional narrative. Kim, one of the main coup leaders, strongly asserted that he was the mastermind behind the coup, and that he enlisted Park to the cause, not the other way around. By comparing Kim’s new narrative with the primary record, this paper attempts to assess the veracity of his comments that challenge the conventional narrative.
  • Topic: United Nations, History, Coup
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Soyoung Kwon
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The view of convergence in terms of how former socialist countries change invites questions about cases of non-transition and their typological regime features. This paper examines the North Korean regime to assess its unique path of post-communist transition and analyzes behavioral explanations for the divergent outcome. A combination of institutional and behavioral features point to a countryspecific development, which may have taken a distinctive path due to different historical experiences, leadership features, legitimation, and political culture. This also invites a new comparative perspective on the remaining socialist countries in Asia in order to discuss the prospects and challenges of political change within the framework of transition from the authoritarian rule.
  • Topic: Politics, Regime Change, Authoritarianism, Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Gary J. Sampson
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: In 2017, North Korea under Kim Jong-un has made significant strides toward the capabilities needed for a credible nuclear deterrent. This article analyzes the most recent achievements of the North Korean nuclear weapons program, including its September 2017 nuclear test and its three long-range missile tests in the latter half of 2017. Observers should not discount Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. However, other capabilities such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and targeting require further development to achieve the full range of capabilities associated with a credible nuclear deterrent. Because of the high costs associated with the development of robust strategic intelligence and targeting capabilities, Pyongyang may be willing to settle for lower levels of capability in these areas, which may still be sufficient to guide nuclear attacks. As a result, policymakers must move to a bargaining strategy that acknowledges the reality of North Korea’s nuclear capability, marking a significant policy shift among regional allies. Pyongyang’s long-held desire to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its regional allies may be coming to fruition. Kim Jong-un has shrewdly played his hand from a position of weakness and succeeded where many others failed—a high-risk path upon which he still walks. China’s minimum credible nuclear deterrent may be a model for Kim Jong-un’s development of North Korean nuclear capability.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Nuclear Weapons, Surveillance, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Gabriel Jonsson
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines the United Nations Development Programme’s role in South and North Korea’s economic development. The UNDP is not only the UN’s lead agency for economic and social development, it is one of the few UN organizations to have worked with both countries in traditional bilateral arrangements, as well as a in multilateral initiative. Operating in South Korea from 1963 to 2009, the UNDP contributed to the nation’s economic development by complimenting the government’s policies. However, its role was minor compared to the government’s own actions. Nonetheless, South Korea has served on the UNDP board four times since its UN admission in 1991, raising the country’s diplomatic standing. After North Korea joined the UNDP in 1979, the organization’s work in the country focused on improving food production and supporting industrial development. These activities helped improve the economic crisis since the 1990s. In the 1990s, the UNDP provided humanitarian assistance and scholarships to develop human resources. Pyongyang officials restricted the UNDP’s work throughout the time it was active in North Korea. These violations led the UNDP to suspend operations in 2007. Since the early 1990s, the UNDP has supported the Tumen River Area Development Program, the only initiative that involved the two Koreas, as well as China, Russia and Mongolia. Although the UNDP facilitated initial contacts, it was unable to overcome longstanding animosities and disagreements. The successor Greater Tumen Initiative continues to languish.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, United Nations, United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United Nations
  • Author: Shawn P. Creamer
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United Nations Command is the oldest and most distinguished of the four theater-level commands in the Republic of Korea. Authorized by the nascent United Nations Security Council, established by the United States Government, and initially commanded by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, the United Nations Command had over 930,000 servicemen and women at the time the Armistice Agreement was signed. Sixteen UN member states sent combat forces and five provided humanitarian assistance to support the Republic of Korea in repelling North Korea’s attack. Over time, other commands and organizations assumed responsibilities from the United Nations Command, to include the defense of the Republic of Korea. The North Korean government has frequently demanded the command’s dissolution, and many within the United Nations question whether the command is a relic of the Cold War. This paper examines the United Nations Command, reviewing the establishment of the command and its subordinate organizations. The next section describes the changes that occurred as a result of the establishment of the Combined Forces Command in 1978, as well as the implications of removing South Korean troops from the United Nations Command’s operational control in 1994. The paper concludes with an overview of recent efforts to revitalize the United Nations Command, with a focus on the command’s relationship with the Sending States.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, Military Affairs, Peace, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: James F. Durand
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Founder and first Commandant Shin Hyun-joon led the Republic of Korea Marine Corps longer than any other officer. Created without American advisors or equipment, the Navy’s amphibious unit initially reflected his long association with the customs and practices of the Imperial Japanese Army and lessons learned on battlefields across Manchuria and China. Shin’s path to the Corps’ top position also included service with the Korean Coast Guard and Republic of Korea Navy. He led Marines in counterguerrilla operations on Cheju Island, during the Incheon-Seoul campaign, and in fighting along the east coast. As commandant, Shin transformed the rapidly expanding Corps, forging a relationship with the United States Marine Corps and instituting training and education practices modeled on the American system. He remained in uniform after serving as commandant, commanding the 1st Marine Brigade, advising the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Minister of National Defense, and forming the Marine Education Base. Avowedly apolitical, he was nonetheless close to the leaders of South Korea’s first three republics: respected by Syngman Rhee, beloved by Chang Myon, and esteemed and subsequently feared by Park Chung-hee. Shin is not only South Korea’s longest serving general officer, but the nation’s longest serving ambassador. Drawn from the memoirs of General Shin and his contemporaries, this essay provides insight into the relationships between the “Father of the Marine Corps” and the Republic of Korea’s early leaders in the establishment and evolution of this elite military service.
  • Topic: History, Military Affairs, Leadership, Conflict, Coup
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Roberta Cohen
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: When a typhoon struck North Korea’s northeast in September 2016, it flooded not only schools, health clinics, roads and agricultural lands, but also a reeducation through labor camp housing political prisoners. This presented a challenge to United Nations humanitarian agencies: should they overlook the plight of those in the flooded camp in the interests of working cooperatively with the government, or should they seek to gain entry to all disaster victims in line with the UN’s humanitarian principles? Their decision to ignore the imprisoned victims highlights the need for better integration of human rights concerns into humanitarian action through strengthened cooperation between human rights and humanitarian actors, backup from senior UN officials, and the application of the UN Human Rights Up Front approach to North Korea.
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations, Political Prisoners
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Robert Collins
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Rescuing inmates from North Korea's vast political prison system presents significant challenges for American and South Korean political and military leaders. The lives of prisoners would be immediately threatened in the event of war or the collapse of the Kim Family Regime, as former camp guards who defected to the Republic of Korea have testified to this effect. The events that would threaten the prisoners' lives would occur at a time when the military assets needed for their rescue are in most demand. Defending Seoul and treating civilian casualties will remain priorities for military commanders, who will find it difficult to divert the specially trained troops, air support and logistical resources required to neutralize camp guards, secure the prisons, and provide immediate aid to the inmates. Yet, rescuing the inmates would provide benefits, including gaining the support from a wary North Korean population and legitimizing post-crisis reunification efforts. Because of the strategic implications of this decision, only the American and South Korean presidents could authorize such a mission.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Regime Change, Prisons/Penal Systems, Political Prisoners
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Greg Scarlatoiu
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: North Korea officially dispatches over 60,000 workers to a minimum of 20 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. The regime confiscates much of the USD 200 million earned by these workers annually. Despite the known exploitation and hardship, North Koreans continue to covet these positions, which provide rare opportunities to spend time outside the world’s most isolated dictatorial regime and send small amounts of money to their families at home. Only those deemed loyal to the regime as measured by North Korea’s songbun system have access to these jobs. Even those with “good songbun” frequently bribe government officials to secure one of the few positions available. Once overseas, workers labor under harsh and dangerous conditions that border on slavery. North Korea’s pervasive security apparatus continues to survey all activities while spouses and children serve as de facto hostages to prevent defections. The Kim Family Regime’s dispatch of workers amounts to exporting its subjects as a commodity. Efforts to address this issue must be based on applicable international standards. Governments bound by international agreements should first seek redress, as difficult as it may be, before terminating the contracts that cover North Korea’s overseas workers.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Labor Issues, Economy, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Gordon G. Chang
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: China is playing a duplicitous game when it comes to North Korea. It proclaims it is enforcing Security Council resolutions when it is in fact not. The Chinese have overwhelming leverage over the North, but they will not use their power to disarm the Kim Family regime, at least in the absence of intense pressure from the United States. Beijing believes Pyongyang furthers important short-term Chinese objectives, and so views it as a weapon against Washington and others. Beijing’s attempts to punish Seoul over its decision to accept deployment of the THAAD missile defense system reveal true intentions.
  • Topic: Sanctions, Authoritarianism, Weapons , Missile Defense, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: James F. Durand
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: With nearly 900,000 long-term residents, Japan has one of the largest populations of overseas Koreans. Japan is unique in that it is the only country that further classifies its Korean residents by external political affiliation; i.e., those not adopting Japanese nationality are affiliated with the Korean Residents Union of Japan (Mindan) or the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon), organizations that are linked to South and North Korea, respectively. The status of Korean residents in Japan, and both organizations supporting them, is a product of Japan’s complex relationship with the Korean Peninsula during the last century. American concerns about Japan’s Korean residents—both as an occupying power and a treaty ally—add another dimension to what should have been a domestic or bilateral issue between the Government of Japan, its Korean residents, and North or South Korea. Chongryon’s long-term financial, material, and technical support to Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs highlighted the differences between all governments. However, Pyongyang’s admission that it abducted Japanese citizens has brought about significant changes in the Japanese government’s policies toward North Korea and Chongryon. These include the suspension of ferry services between the two countries and limiting remittances to North Korea. As the Trump Administration considers tighter sanctions as part of its North Korean strategy, the history of the Japan’s relations with its proPyongyang residents provides a cautionary tale about the international community’s ability to use sanctions as a means to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile ambitions.
  • Topic: Immigration, Sanctions, Weapons , Ethnicity, Abductions
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Seongwhun Cheon
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Managing a nuclear-armed North Korea is South Korea’s grand strategy to protect the nation’s vital security interest in the short term and achieve peaceful unification in the long term. Its foundation rests on two pillars of containing the North’s military expansion and nuclear coercion, and promoting constructive changes in North Korean society. This strategy of management is neither appeasement based on unfounded optimism of the North Korean leadership nor an intimidation tactic to overthrow the Kim Family Regime. Under the assumption that genuine peace or national integration is not possible unless North Korea is denuclearized and its society transformed, it is a strategy that exercises full vigilance toward the North and applies all available means and methods to reduce political and military threats from Pyongyang. It also patiently encourages gradual and fundamental changes in North Korea as the ultimate path to a denuclearized and unified Korean peninsula. The management strategy understands that no dialogue with North Korea could resolve the nuclear problem at a single stroke, and thus, it keeps expectations low and objectives achievable. It does not anticipate a sweeping deal to denuclearize North Korea.
  • Topic: Nuclear Power, Grand Strategy, Peace, Deterrence, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • 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: Randall Ireson
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Modern farming in Korea has followed two divergent paths since the partition of the peninsula. Both countries substantially raised agricultural production in the 1970s, but policy decisions in North Korea created a situation in which the farm sector stagnated and ultimately failed when faced with changes in the 1990s. In addition to reviewing the technical and policy changes since the start of the food crisis, this paper examines the likely consequences of reunification on the North Korean farm sector. Structural changes would include the dominance of a market economy, dissolution of cooperative and state farms, and the need to recapitalize the entire farm economy. Organizational changes regarding land tenure, operation and management of formerly collective resources, and new roles for former North Korean agricultural guidance and research organizations would be challenging. Rural residents would face personal challenges of adapting to the requirements and thinking patterns of a market economy, coupled with the loss of close technical direction by the North Korean planning system. Although there are opportunities for enhanced farm productivity and economic well being at the household level, smoothly adapting to reunification would greatly depend on planning, policies and resources set in place for such an event.
  • Topic: Agriculture, History, Famine, Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Greg Scarlatoiu
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was a great admirer of North Korean leader Kim Il-sung, attempting to duplicate the personality cult, national-Communism and other aspects of the North Korean dynastic totalitarian regime. Systematic human rights violations were common in both countries. Despite the relentless repression, indoctrination and surveillance, there are several factors that could potentially erode the Kim Family Regime’s grip on power, including informal marketization and increased information inflow from the outside world. As such, Romania provides an important precedent for the current situation in North Korea. Of particular note, understanding those factors that conferred legitimacy on the Romanian military enables a deeper appreciation of the military’s role in the anti-communist revolution and turbulent times that followed. Kim Jong-il learned from the Romanian experience, adopting a military first policy in North Korea. In contrast, Kim Jong-un has attempted to return some power to the Korean Workers Party. Kim Jong-un’s success in gaining the support of the country’s elites would be a key factor in avoiding a Romanian-style revolution and obliteration of the top leadership.
  • Topic: Human Rights, History, Regime Change, Authoritarianism, Capitalism
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Romania
  • Author: George Hutchinson
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United States-Republic of Korea Alliance has arrived at a critical juncture. In July 2016, the countries jointly decided to deploy the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense system to the Korean Peninsula to defend against North Korea’s accelerating nuclear and ballistic missile programs. China has long opposed an American-led, regional missile defense system, persistently warning South Korea against deploying THAAD. Since the deciding to deploy THAAD, the political landscapes in the U.S. and the ROK have changed dramatically. The new Donald J. Trump administration has signaled a change from the previous administration’s “strategic patience” policy, but details of the new approach have yet to emerge. North Korea, meanwhile, continues to aggressively test ballistic missiles and promote its nuclear weapons program. In South Korea, the impeachment and subsequent removal of Park Geun-hye triggered the need for a snap election, and a left-leaning candidate, Moon Jae-in, is leading in the polls. The election could mark a return of previous liberal administration policies that favored cooperation with North Korea. Additionally, Moon has signaled his opposition to THAAD. Nonetheless, the U.S. began deploying THAAD to South Korea in March 2017. China retaliated, implementing a series of economic, political, and military measures to pressure South Korea. This paper provides background on THAAD, analyzes the decision by Washington and Seoul to deploy the system to Korea, and examines Beijing’s concerns and coercive counterstrategy
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Military Strategy, Weapons , Missile Defense, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Sam-man Chung
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs threaten South Korea and its neighbors. Pyongyang’s engineers are likely capable of producing a warhead small enough to place it atop a missile. As its ability to engineer warheads for flight and reentry improves, North Korea increasingly endangers the United States. Deterring Pyongyang is extremely difficult given North Korea’s conventional, unconventional, and cyber capabilities. South Korean and American strategists have reponspded by developing a tailored deterrence strategy to address specific threats. At the operational level, this is supported by the Combined Counter-Provocation Plan. Ballistic missile defense, including the ability to detect, defend, disrupt, and destroy North Korea’s missiles, is critical to the success of the tailored deterrence strategy. South Korea opted to develop its Korean Air and Missile Defense and Kill Chain system. These systems are independent of American ballistic missile defense systems. The Korean systerms were conceived and developed amidst plans to transfer Wartime Operational Control from the U.S. to South Korea. Because transfer has been postponted, there is less rationale for maintaing separate systems. Despite the official desire to keep these systems independent, South Korea needs to develop options for enhancing interoperability with American missile defense systems to support the tailored deterrence strategy.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons , Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Gordon G. Chang
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Relations between China and North Korea have deteriorated during the last year, but Beijing has not fundamentally changed its approach toward its neighbor because that approach serves vital Chinese interests. If the regime of Kim Jong Un should look like it might fail—and there are several reasons why it could—Beijing’s leaders will undoubtedly do all they can to effect a rescue. The Chinese state, however, is not as stable or as capable as it appears, and it may not be in a position to lend needed assistance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Bilateral Relations, Authoritarianism, Political stability
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Kim Taewoo
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test on January 6, 2016, the February 2 test launch of the Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite (which in fact was a longrange missile), and other provocative activities amply reminded the international community of the reasons for strong and consistent sanctions. Such activities again proved the Kim Family Regime (KFR) will not accept voluntary changes or engage in denuclearization dialogue. Instead, the regime declared de facto "Nuclear-First Politics," thus ruling out the possibility of denuclearization. If the KFR is allowed to continue unhampered nuclear weapons development, it will become a nuclear power with over 50 nuclear weapons within a decade. Its weapons will include atomic bombs, boosted fission bombs, and hydrogen bombs. The KFR will also possess increasingly formidable delivery vehicles, such as Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. This situation must be a nightmare particularly to South Korea. However, the current international sanctions headed by the UNSCR 2270, along with unilateral sanctions, are unlikely to bear fruit in the foreseeable future due to China’s conflicting policies. Beijing’s attitude towards North Korean nuclear program has alternated between ‘pressure and connivance;’ its military relationship with the United States determining China’s position on sanctions. China’s alternating position prevents effective sanctions against North Korea. While the international community should endeavor to make sanctions concerted, strong and consistent, South Korea and the U.S. should think about a Plan B that includes presenting China the threat of nuclear proliferation in East Asia.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Sanctions, Nonproliferation, UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Patrick M. Cronin, Seongwon Lee
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The United States relies on its ability to project military power far forward of its shores in defense of national and allied interests. Yet the diffusion of technology, especially long-range and precision-guided munitions, poses profound challenges to this core assumption undergirding U.S. extended deterrence and alliance contingency response. The U.S. Department of Defense is seeking technological and operational innovations to deal with these unfavorable trends, largely through military modernization programs that are designed to preserve the United States’ capacity to deter aggression, dissuade adventurism, reassure allies, and defend allied and national interests in the event of conflict. Most analysis of America’s so-called “Third Offset Strategy” has focused on deploying leading-edge technologies to overcome China’s military modernization programs. Almost nothing has been written about a Third Offset Strategy through the prism of the Korean Peninsula. Yet the Third Offset Strategy can bolster the alliance’s response to North Korea, reinforce deterrence, and support regional security. This paper seeks to fill a gap in the analysis by assessing the emerging U.S. defense programs with respect to North Korea, Peninsula contingencies, and ROK–U.S. alliance cooperation on regional and outof-area security issues.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Alliance, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, South America, United States of America
  • Author: Yonho Kim
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: North Korea’s nuclear tests in 2016 rekindled a stronger voice for independent nuclear armament among South Korean conservatives. It is noteworthy that the pro-nuclear view is mainly driven by feelings of profound frustration and helplessness over North Korea’s growing nuclear threat. To assuage concerns, Washington should start seeking new methods of reassuring its partner of its intention to honor its security commitments. The challenges to the U.S.-ROK alliance sparked by North Korea’s nuclear test also came from the liberals’ fierce criticism of the Park government’s decision to start talks with Washington on THAAD deployment. Opponents of THAAD emphasized potential “security anxiety” associated with THAAD deployment, which they argued would escalate regional tensions and introduce a new Cold War, endangering peace on the Korean Peninsula. The THAAD issue has become a political hot potato that could easily entrap major presidential candidates. To avoid any backlash, the candidates will refuse to choose between China and the U.S. while placing the alliance with the U.S. at the center of South Korea’s foreign policy.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • Author: James F. Durand
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: This paper assesses Japan’s role in Korean security using the quasialliance model. Developed by Professor Victor Cha, the quasi-alliance model to analyze the security relationship between Japan and the Republic of Korea, “two states that remain unallied despite sharing a common ally.” Cha defined the quasi-alliance model as “the triangular relationship between two states that are not allied, but share a third party as a common ally.” A key assumption is that the third state serves as the “great-power protector of the two states, and therefore exit opportunities for the two are limited.” While historical issues affected relations between Tokyo and Seoul, American security policies were the primary determinant of cooperation between Japan and Korea. American policy changes produced distinct “abandonment” or “entrapment” responses within the U.S.-Japan and U.S.-ROK security alliances: shared perceptions yielded cooperation, while differing views produced friction. This paper analyzes America’s East Asia policies during the Bush and Obama administrations to assess Japanese and Korean reactions. Analyzed through the quasi-alliance model, American policies produced asymmetric responses in Japan and Korea, inhibiting security cooperation between Tokyo and Seoul. Diverging views of China exacerbated inherent friction between Korea and Japan. Thus, Japan will play a limited role in Korean security.
  • Topic: Security, Grand Strategy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, United States of America
  • 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
  • Author: Eui-Young Yu, Peter Choe, Sang II Han
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. Census Bureau reported 1,076,872 Koreans residing in the United States as of April 1, 2000 (http://www.census.gov). These are the respondents who identified themselves as "Korean alone." If those who reported themselves as "Korean in combination with other Asian or other race" are added, the total amounts to 1,228,427. The figures for mixed-heritage persons belonging to two or more ethnic and/or racial groups should be used with caution, especially for comparative analysis, because categories containing these individuals are not mutually exclusive. For this reason, in this analysis the "Korean alone" population figure was mainly used.
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Ralph A. Cossa
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: A broad variety of multilateral security dialogue mechanisms has emerged in the Asia-Pacific region in recent years. These efforts at building trust and confidence, both at the official and at the nongovernmental or so-called "track two" level, have the potential for enhancing Northeast Asian regional security. All Northeast Asian nations express support for such efforts. The current trend toward multilateralism is also generally consistent with U.S. foreign policy objectives in Asia, albeit as an important complement to America's bilateral security arrangements (which remain the foundation of U.S. security policy in Asia).
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Northeast Asia
  • Author: Hang Yul Rhee
  • Publication Date: 09-1998
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Journal of Korean Studies
  • Institution: International Council on Korean Studies
  • Abstract: The spectacular performance, until recently, of East Asia's emerging economies, popularly known as the Asian tigers, has fueled wild speculation in the West about the so-called "Asian Century." "Never before in world history," noted the Economist in March 1997, "has any region sustained such rapid growth for so long." The GDP per capita of Taiwan ($13,200) and South Korea ($11,900) were already impressive enough in 1997 to place them at the gate of the advanced industrialized nations of the world. Japan, of course, has long been an acknowledged super-economy, often said to have led the flock of economic "flying geese" before they turned into what Chung-In Moon ten years ago called the "swarming sparrows" in Asia. Then suddenly last summer, seemingly as if from the blue, came the financial crisis in Pacific Asia. In reality, however, it followed what had been a decade-long period of sclerosis in the Japanese economy.
  • Political Geography: Japan, East Asia, Asia, South Korea