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The Great East Japan Earthquake and South Korean Support

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak prays for the victims at the area which was devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture (Koichi Kamoshida/Courtesy Reuters). South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak prays for the victims at the area which was devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture (Koichi Kamoshida/Courtesy Reuters).

Park Cheol-hee is an associate professor at Seoul National University.

NHK live broadcasts on the tsunami that swept coastal villages in Eastern Japan on March 11, 2011, were a shocking scene to the South Korean people. Japan now confronts the aftermath of triple natural disasters—an earthquake of a record 9.0 magnitude, a devastating tsunami, and the threat of radioactive contamination—that have left 11,417 dead, 16,273 missing, and more than 350,000 people struggling to survive at crowded shelters. Read more »

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

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum presents South Korean President Lee Myung-bak with the Zayed International Prize for Environment in Dubai March 14, 2011 (Abdullah Muhsen/Courtesy Reuters). Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum presents South Korean President Lee Myung-bak with the Zayed International Prize for Environment in Dubai March 14, 2011 (Abdullah Muhsen/Courtesy Reuters).

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

In an interview with the Korea Herald earlier this year, Hur Dong-Soo, CEO of Korea’s GS Caltex, called his company’s investments in heavy-oil upgrading facilities a “green growth business.” As the phrase “green growth” becomes ever more common—now used in reference to everything from solar panel exports to a stimulus-backed cure-all for ailing national economies—such claims beg the question, what does green growth really mean? Is it a strategy for cashing in on the growing global demand for clean energy products, like wind turbines and smart grid components? Is it the goal to derive more power from renewable sources? Or, is it investing in technology to meet the demand for cleaner-burning petroleum products, as GS Caltex is doing? Read more »

Time for a Comprehensive, Proactive North Korea Policy

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder
North Korean soldiers participate in the Pyongyang City People's Rally, held to denounce the U.S - led U.N. punishment toward North Korea for its May 25 nuclear test (KCNA/Courtesy Reuters). North Korean soldiers participate in the Pyongyang City People's Rally, held to denounce the U.S - led U.N. punishment toward North Korea for its May 25 nuclear test (KCNA/Courtesy Reuters).

Jack Pritchard was the President of the Korea Economic Institute and was formerly ambassador and special envoy for negotiations with North Korea.

Last year I was privileged to co-chair the Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force Report U.S. Policy Toward the Korean Peninsula. One of the Task Force’s observations was that there was “significant risk that [the administration’s] ‘strategic patience’ will result in acquiescence to North Korea’s nuclear status as a fait accompli.” Several months have transpired since the report was published in June 2010 and “strategic patience” continues. Read more »

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 »