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Showing posts for "North Korea"

Don’t Buy China’s Peace Plan for North Korea

by Ely Ratner
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides the 3rd Meeting of Activists of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in the Movement for Winning the Title of O Jung Hup-led 7th Regiment in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 4, 2016. (Reuters/KCNA)

In a matter of weeks, all of China’s fears have come to a head on the Korean Peninsula. At an airport in Malaysia in mid-February, the exiled half-brother of North Korea’s ruler was assassinated with a nerve agent, reminding the world that the Hermit Kingdom is run by a paranoid and violent regime. Closer to home, North Korea conducted two rounds of ballistic missile tests in stark violation of UN Security Council resolutions. In response, the United States, South Korea, and Japan all vowed to tighten military ties and step up pressure on Pyongyang, underscored by the initial deployment, much to China’s dismay, of a new U.S. missile defense system in South Korea. Read more »

Will the North Korea-Malaysia Crisis Cause a Shift in Southeast Asian States’ Relationships with Pyongyang?

by Joshua Kurlantzick
malaysia-north korea A view of the North Korea embassy that has been sealed off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on March 7, 2017. (Lai Seng Sin/Reuters)

As I noted in a piece I co-authored with Scott Snyder shortly after the apparent assassination of Kim Jong Nam, Malaysia is but one of many Southeast Asian nations that have relatively robust diplomatic ties with Pyongyang. Or at least—Malaysia had relatively robust ties with Pyongyang. Read more »

Park Geun-hye’s Impeachment: What Next?

by Scott A. Snyder
People react about the decision of the Constitutional Court over the impeachment of South Koeran President Park Geun-hye in Seoul, South Korea March 10, 2017. (Yonhap/Lee Ji-Eun/via Reuters)

South Korea’s Constitutional Court unanimously upheld the National Assembly’s impeachment of Park Geun-hye today, paving the way for new elections to be held within 60 days of the ruling. May 9 has been reported as the most likely date for the election of a new president, who will replace President Park and serve a five-year term. Read more »

Malaysia’s Front Office Role in Enabling North Korean WMD Procurement

by Scott A. Snyder
North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol (C), who was expelled from Malaysia, is escorted as he arrives at Kuala Lumpur international airport in Sepang, Malaysia March 6, 2017. (Reuters/Lai Seng Sin)

North Korea continues to evade UN sanctions designed to prevent its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) development by embedding its agents and intermediaries within the international trading system, according to the latest assessment of the UN Panel of Experts set up to monitor North Korean compliance with international sanctions. Read more »

South Korea’s Strategic Choices: Separating the Forest from the Trees

by Scott A. Snyder
Protesters gather and occupy major streets in the city center for a rally against South Korean President Park Geun-hye in Seoul, South Korea December 3, 2016. (Reuters/Chung Sung-Jun/Pool)

This post was coauthored with Sungtae (Jacky) Park, research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations.

South Korea is in turmoil, with President Park Geun-hye having been suspended from office by the South Korean national assembly after being implicated as an accomplice in the criminal investigation of her close friend, Choi Soon-sil. Consequently, the South Korean conservatives have lost popularity among the public, and the center-left Minjoo Party’s Moon Jae-in has emerged as the front-runner in South Korea’s looming presidential election, which must be held within sixty days if Park’s impeachment is upheld at the South Korean constitutional court. Read more »

Costs of South Korea’s Ongoing Political Vacuum

by Scott A. Snyder
Judges of the Constitutional Court sit during the final hearing on whether to confirm the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye at the Constitutional Court in Seoul, South Korea, Febuary 27, 2017. (Reuters/Ahn Young-joon/Pool)

Two months following the passage by the ROK National Assembly of a motion of impeachment against Park Geun-hye, power remains in the hands of Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn, South Korean conservatives are split between the pro-Park New Liberty Korea Party and the newly-established anti-Park Bareun (Righteous) Party, and a series of investigations has expanded the dimensions of South Korea’s political scandal and threatened to ensnare top Korean corporate leaders.1 South Korea’s most experienced leader in international affairs, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, ended his flirtation with presidential politics by concluding that he should remain out of the race, seemingly turning a looming presidential election into a fight among progressives.2 Hwang has succeeded, thus far, in fulfilling his caretaker role, insofar as he has kept current policies in place and maintained government momentum despite the looming threat of politicization and reversal of Park Geun-hye’s major foreign policy decisions. But while South Korea stands still and awaits new political leadership, regional tensions are increasing and potential cleavages in the Northeast Asian security environment are becoming more apparent. Read more »

India’s Space Program, Kim Jong-nam’s Assassination, Jakarta’s Elections, and More

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
People watch as India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) carrying 104 satellites in a single mission lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer People watch as India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) carrying 104 satellites in a single mission lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India on February 15, 2017. (Stringer/Reuters)

Rachel Brown, Sherry Cho, Larry Hong, Gabriella Meltzer, and Gabriel Walker look at five stories from Asia this week.

1. India’s space program shoots for the stars. This Wednesday, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched a record-breaking 104 satellites into orbit from a single rocket. The feat, which shattered the previous Russian record of thirty-seven satellites in one launch, cemented India as a “serious player” in the private-sector space market. Read more »

The Death of Kim Jong Nam

by Joshua Kurlantzick and Scott A. Snyder
North Korean heir-apparent Kim Jong Nam emerges from a bus as he is escorted by Japanese authorities upon his deportation from Japan at Tokyo's Narita international airport May 4, 2001. Kim Jong Nam, eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the man entered Japan with a forged passport on Tuesday, but was deported to China on Friday. (Eriko Sugita)

The death in Malaysia of Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of former North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, was shocking on its surface. Reports indicate that two women may have poisoned him at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, while others suggest a larger group of people might have been involved. Reports further suggest the attackers may have poisoned Kim Jong Nam with a needle, while other reports allege they sprayed or used a cloth to apply some kind of poison on him. He died on his way to a hospital in the Malaysian capital. Read more »

SecDef Mattis’s Mission in Northeast Asia: Provide Reassurance from the Trump Administration

by Scott A. Snyder
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis (L) shakes hands with South Korea's acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn (R) prior their meeting at the Government Complex in Seoul, South Korea February 2, 2017. (Reuters/Song Kyung-Seok/Pool)

Northeast Asia is facing profound political uncertainty: South Korea is immobilized by a political scandal that has resulted in the impeachment of its president, Park Geun-hye, and ensnared top business elites; Japan has been left high and dry after U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, arguably the country’s best chance at growth; and North Korea is getting closer and closer to becoming a nuclear power. Read more »

Assessing U.S. Policy Options Toward North Korea

by Scott A. Snyder
Newspapers with pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un addressing the ruling Workers' Party congress are placed inside one of halls of the Kim Jong Suk Pyongyang textile mill during a government organised visit for foreign reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea May 9, 2016. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

On January 31, 2017, I testified together with Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt from the American Enterprise Institute before the Senate foreign relations committee on policy toward North Korea. My opening statement appears below, and my written testimony and a video recording of the hearing can be found here. Read more »