South Korea

  • It’s Time for Trump to Test North Korea

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has, in a surprise move, reportedly agreed to suspend nuclear and missile tests and start talks with the United States on dismantling his nuclear weapons. Both were prerequisites set by US President Donald J. Trump’s administration before it would agree to an initial, exploratory meeting.

    US President Donald J. Trump promptly tweeted that the rare opportunity to defuse the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, while a sign of “possible progress,” could also be “false hope.”

    “There’s only one way to know if it is false hope and that is to test it by sitting down for talks with the North Koreans,” said Robert A. Manning, a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

    “The North Koreans have said everything he has wanted them to say,” Manning said. “The ball is now in Trump’s court.”

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  • I Spy A North Korean at the Olympics

    North Korean Gen. Kim Yong-chol is believed to have orchestrated a deadly attack on a South Korean warship, the bombardment of a South Korean island, and, possibly, the cyberattack on Sony Pictures.

    Now, the former North Korean spy chief is on a different mission. Kim Yong-chol will lead his country’s delegation to the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on February 25. There he is expected to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in to pave the way for a peace summit proposed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

    The diplomatic thaw between North and South Korea follows several months of missile and nuclear tests by Pyongyang and is playing out in the high-wattage arena afforded by the Winter Olympics.

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  • Manning Quoted in RFA on Proposed Inter-Korean Summit

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  • An Olympic Thaw on the Korean Peninsula. But for How Long?

    Even as it supports the Olympic thaw between North and South Korea, US President Donald J. Trump’s administration is keeping up pressure on Pyongyang, evidenced by US Vice President Mike Pence’s promise that the “toughest and most aggressive” sanctions on North Korea are imminent.

    On February 7, two days ahead of the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Pence described North Korea as having the “most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet.” He insisted that the United States will continue to intensify the heat of sanctions until North Korea takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.

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  • When Politics Becomes an Olympic Sport

    No matter how deft the backflips or how swift the skaters, Korean unity will likely grab the spotlight (and news headlines) at the 2018 Winter Olympics which open in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on February 9.

    That is becauseathletes from North and South Korea will march together under a unified flag at the opening ceremony and field a joint women’s ice hockey team. [The South Korean hockey team is not exactly thrilled about the latter.]

    Meanwhile, US Vice President Mike Pence, who will lead the official US government delegation to the opening ceremony at Pyeongchang, has left open the possibility of a meeting with North Korean officials. Pence has also vowed that the United States will soon impose the "toughest and most aggressive sanctions" on North Korea.

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  • Manning Quoted in the Express on North-South Korean Olympics Diplomacy

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  • How North Korea Went from Testing Missiles to Figure Skating in the Winter Olympics

    The most recent example of sports diplomacy between North and South Korea will not solve all problems between neighbors on the divided peninsula, but it certainly marks a step in the right direction.

    During a meeting between negotiators from Pyongyang and Seoul in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) along the border between North and South Korea on January 9, it was agreed that North Korea would send a delegation to the Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea in February, military talks to decrease tension between the two neighboring nations would begin, and a military hotline would be reopened.

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  • North Korea May Be Trying to Drive a Wedge Between the United States and South Korea

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is likely trying to drive a wedge between the United States and South Korea with his uncharacteristic offer of an olive branch to Seoul, according to the Atlantic Council’s Robert A. Manning.

    On January 3, North Korea reopened a border hotline with South Korea after two years of silence. That followed a proposal from Kim in his New Year’s Day speech to ease tensions with South Korea. Kim also suggested that North Korean athletes may participate in the Winter Olympics in the South Korean town of Pyeongchang in February.

    Kim’s outreach may be a sign that tough international sanctions are beginning to hurt North Korea, said Manning, a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. This, he surmised, may have led Kim to seek to “divide and conquer” the US-South Korean alliance.

    “It is a time-honored tactic, particularly when there is a leftist government in Seoul—as you have now,” he added.

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  • 2017 Atlantic Council-Korea Foundation Forum

    Reimagining the US-Republic of Korea Partnership in the Trans-Pacific Century

    As the Trump administration nears the end of its first year in office, it is a propitious moment to take stock of the emerging US policy for an uncertain and very dynamic security and economic environment in the Trans-Pacific region. In order to most effectively address the region’s unfolding economic and security challenges and opportunities, the United States should work more closely than ever before with its like-minded allies and partners from both the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic communities to develop common approaches. 

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  • Vershbow Joins Bloomberg to Discuss Trump's South Korea Visit

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