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North Korea’s Provocations and Their Impact on Northeast Asian Regional Security

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
South Koreans watch the news on television showing smoke rising from Yeonpyeong Island after it was hit by dozens of artillery shells fired by North Korea November 23, 2010 (Truth Leem/Courtesy Reuters). South Koreans watch the news on television showing smoke rising from Yeonpyeong Island after it was hit by dozens of artillery shells fired by North Korea November 23, 2010 (Truth Leem/Courtesy Reuters).

This excerpt is based on a report by See-Won Byun from the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy, “North Korea’s Provocations and Their Impact on Northeast Asian Regional Security.” 

North Korean provocations against South Korea through the sinking of the Cheonan in March 2010 and the artillery shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010 have not only heightened inter-Korean tensions, but have also exposed differences in the reactions of North Korea’s neighbors, underscoring the possibility that peninsular instability may heighten tensions and presage potential conflict among regional powers.  These tensions have exposed differing preferences among North Korea’s neighbors regarding what might constitute a preferred ‘end state’ on the Korean Peninsula that might result from North Korea’s continued decline (i.e., the potential regional impact of South Korean-led unification of the Korean Peninsula). Read more »

An Opportunity in the U.S. Elections, but It’s Not a Done Deal for the KORUS FTA

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the President's Export Council meeting with company CEOs and members of his administration September 16, 2010, saying he wants to advance free trade agreements with U.S. partners, including important ally South Korea (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the President's Export Council meeting with company CEOs and members of his administration September 16, 2010, saying he wants to advance free trade agreements with U.S. partners, including important ally South Korea (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

Troy Stangarone is the Director of Congressional Affairs and Trade for the Korea Economic Institute. His views are his own.

With the Seoul G20 Summit rapidly approaching on November 11-12, 2010, expectations are high that the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (KORUS FTA) is finally nearing the home stretch. The recent elections in the United States seem to have created a more favorable climate in the House of Representatives for agreement and all that remains is for the two sides to iron out their differences this week in Seoul to finally send the agreement to Capitol Hill for passage early next year. However, the overall picture may not be that simple. Read more »

The Seoul G20 Summit: Opportunity for and Challenge to Strengthening U.S.-Korea Relations

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
U.S. President George W. Bush greets South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak upon arrival at the White House before a dinner for the participants in the G20 Summit in Washington, DC November 14, 2008 (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President George W. Bush greets South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak upon arrival at the White House before a dinner for the participants in the G20 Summit in Washington, DC November 14, 2008 (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters).

Marcus Noland is Deputy Director and Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

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 rising influence of Asia. Read more »

U.S.-ROK Strategic Alliance 2015

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hold a joint news conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and Defense Minister Kim Tae-young for their bilateral 2+2 meeting in Seoul July 21, 2010 (Kim Jae-hwan/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hold a joint news conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and Defense Minister Kim Tae-young for their bilateral 2+2 meeting in Seoul July 21, 2010 (Kim Jae-hwan/Courtesy Reuters).

Major Tara O is an Assistant Professor at the United States Air Force Academy. The views expressed in this essay are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense, or the U. S. Government. Read more »

Prospects for an Inter-Korea Summit in the Post-Cheonan Era

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
South Korean Navy's Ship Salvage Unit members on rubber boats and naval patrol ships patrol to rescue possible survivors from a sunken naval ship Cheonan March 28, 2010 (Jo Yong-hak/ Courtesy Reuters). South Korean Navy's Ship Salvage Unit members on rubber boats and naval patrol ships patrol to rescue possible survivors from a sunken naval ship Cheonan March 28, 2010 (Jo Yong-hak/ Courtesy Reuters).

Kim Sung-bae is Research Fellow of the Institute for National Security Strategy.

After the sinking of the ROK Navy corvette Cheonan on March 26, 2010, the situation on the Korean Peninsula has rapidly deteriorated, worsening already high tensions and heightening the prospect for accidental military clashes. Prospects for the Six Party Talks are also very negative, as new moves to initiate additional sanctions against North Korea have replaced diplomatic efforts for the resumption of talks. Given the current situation, is there any possibility for an inter-Korean summit? A summit, paradoxically, might be the only means of exit from the crisis. Interestingly, in 1993, during heightened military tensions stemming from the first North Korean nuclear crisis, a proposal for an inter-Korean summit was accepted. The meeting was only canceled because of Kim Il-sung’s sudden death on July 8, 1994. Read more »

The Media and Asymmetry of Attention in the U.S.-ROK Alliance

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
A South Korean protester holds a doll "infected" with Mad Cow Disease during a rally criticizing the U.S. beef import deal in Seoul May 14, 2008 (Jo Yong-Hak/ Courtesy Reuters). A South Korean protester holds a doll "infected" with Mad Cow Disease during a rally criticizing the U.S. beef import deal in Seoul May 14, 2008 (Jo Yong-Hak/ Courtesy Reuters).

Shin Gi-wook is Director of The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC); Director of the Korean Studies Program; and the Tong Yang, Korea Foundation, and Korea Stanford Alumni Chair of Korean Studies at Stanford University. Read more »

Nuclear Posture Review and Its Implications on the Korean Peninsula

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates and Secretary of State Clinton giving a joint news briefing on the new Nuclear Posture Review at the Pentagon in Washington, DC April 6, 2010 (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates and Secretary of State Clinton giving a joint news briefing on the new Nuclear Posture Review at the Pentagon in Washington, DC April 6, 2010 (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters).

Kim Hyun-wook is Professor at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS), South Korea.

Since his inauguration, President Obama has placed substantial emphasis on pushing forward nonproliferation and counterterrorism. His overall nuclear policy consists of three components: nonproliferation, disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. This policy was first laid out in President Obama’s Prague speech on April 5, 2009, and further developed in the April 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). These policy adjustments have direct implications for South Korea as a country that is facing an expanded nuclear threat as a result of North Korea’s nuclear development. Read more »

Carbon Capture and Storage Ramps Up in the United States and South Korea

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) announced last fall it would spend 1.3 trillion won ($1.1 billion) by 2020 on Carbon Capture and Storage (You Sung-ho/Courtesy Reuters). Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) announced last fall it would spend 1.3 trillion won ($1.1 billion) by 2020 on Carbon Capture and Storage (You Sung-ho/Courtesy Reuters).

Jill Kosch O’Donnell is a former Junior Associate of The Asia Foundation and writer in Washington, DC.

Demonstration projects now underway in the United States and South Korea to capture CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants and store them deep underground have one critical factor in common: a reliance on government funding. In recent months, both governments have announced new funding to test carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. In a world where cheap and abundant coal-fired power accounts for about 40 percent of man-made CO2 emissions, CCS is a way to reduce emissions without giving up coal. Read more »

The United States and South Korea: Challenges and Remedies for Wartime Operational Control

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
South Korean Defense Minister Kim and U.S. Defense Secretary Gates shake hands during the 39th annual South Korea-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting at the Defense Ministry in Seoul (Jo Yong Hak/ Courtesy Reuters). South Korean Defense Minister Kim and U.S. Defense Secretary Gates shake hands during the 39th annual South Korea-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting at the Defense Ministry in Seoul (Jo Yong Hak/ Courtesy Reuters).

Bruce E. Bechtol Jr. is Professor of International Relations at Marine Corps Command and Staff College. The views expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, the Marine Corps University, or the United States Government. Read more »

Stakes Rise for U.S.-ROK Nuclear Energy Talks

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and the UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan watch as Korea Electric Power Co president Kim Ssang-su  and chairman of Emirates Nuclear Energy Co Khaldoon Khalifa al-Mubarak sign a contract in Abu Dhab (Handout/Courtesy Reuters). South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and the UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan watch as Korea Electric Power Co president Kim Ssang-su and chairman of Emirates Nuclear Energy Co Khaldoon Khalifa al-Mubarak sign a contract in Abu Dhab (Handout/Courtesy Reuters).

Miles A. Pomper is a Senior Research Associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington, DC.

When South Korea and the United States negotiated their last nuclear cooperation agreement in the early 1970s, the talks were a low-key affair. As a poor economy lagging behind its Northern neighbor, South Korea did not have a single operating nuclear power plant, let alone piles of spent nuclear fuel. It seemed impossible that a South Korean company would one day be able to design and export nuclear reactors.U.S.nuclear nonproliferation efforts remained in their infancy. The United States had not yet attempted to clamp down on sales of sensitive fuel cycle technology and supplied most of the world’s enriched uranium. Pyongyang and Seoul had not yet pledged not to pursue uranium enrichment or spent fuel reprocessing—which can be used for nuclear weapons or nuclear energy—and Pyongyang had yet to violate that agreement. Iran was still a U.S.ally. Not surprisingly, little political attention or concern was attached to the U.S.-South Korea nuclear pact. Read more »