South Korea

  • North Korea Must Regain Washington’s Trust, South Korean Official Says

    Special adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in argues that diplomatic and security assurances—not sanctions relief—are the key to achieving North Korean denuclearization

    Following the failure of the February summit in Vietnam between US President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, “there is a huge trust gap between Washington and Pyongyang,” Chung-in Moon, special adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in for unification, foreign, and national security affairs, said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on June 19. “In order to break that trust gap,” Moon added, “North Korea should take some proactive actions.”


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  • ‘Door is Wide Open’ for Negotiations with North Korea, US Envoy Says

    With US-North Korean diplomacy stuck in a ‘holding pattern,’ Stephen Biegun says North Korean negotiators must be empowered to discuss denuclearization

    US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on June 19 that “the door is wide open” for negotiations with North Korea, while admitting that US-North Korean diplomacy has been in a “holding pattern” since the summit between US President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi in February.

    “For both countries, denuclearization sits at the center of this discussion,” Biegun said, adding: “Our expectations have been made quite clear to the North Koreans, but Chairman Kim has also signaled to us during the course of [the Hanoi summit] how important this issue is to him.”


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  • Manning Quoted in The Diplomat on New US-South Korea Joint Military Exercise


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  • Manning Quoted in VOA on the Cancellation of Military Exercises With South Korea


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  • Here are Some Economic Incentives That Could Help Move North Korea’s Kim Toward Denuclearization

    The Kim Jong-un regime’s most important policy objective is regime survival. In 2013, North Korea adopted the “parallel (Byungjin) policy of economic construction and nuclear development,” which served as the premise for accelerating development of its nuclear capabilities. In the meanwhile, the Kim regime has been confronted with burgeoning informal markets known as jangmadang (market grounds), rapidly increasing cellphone penetration rate, changing mindset of the younger generation, and the undeniable deterioration of the North Korean economy. In response to these developments, Kim and those in his inner circle are altering their perception of what they must pursue to safeguard the survival of their regime. The most significant move was the recently renewed policy line that “prioritizes economic development policy.”
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  • The Second Trump-Kim Summit: What Will Success Look Like?

    US President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will hold their second summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 and 28.


    The two leaders last met in Singapore on June 12, 2018. Following that meeting—the first engagement between a sitting US president and the leader of North Korea—Trump declared that North Korea was “no longer a nuclear threat.” However, there is little evidence that Kim is preparing to eliminate his nuclear weapons.


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  • South Korea is a Hesitant, But Friendly, US Ally in the Indo-Pacific

    Rivalry between the United States and China is deepening in the Asia-Pacific and beyond. While China is actively promoting its Belt and Road Initiative, the United States, together with its allies and partners, has put forward a Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy. Both the United States and China are asking countries in the region to make a strategic choice between the two competing conceptions, making it difficult for partner countries to live in both worlds.


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  • Manning in the Hill: Positive Moon-Kim Summit Creates a Diplomatic Opening in North Korea


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  • Testing North Korea's Nuclear Offer

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has agreed to dismantle missile facilities in the presence of international inspectors and take steps toward denuclearization—provided the United States takes “corresponding measures.”

    US President Donald J. Trump called Kim’s pledges “very exciting” on Twitter.

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  • US-North Korea Impasse Puts South Korea in a Bind

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in has prioritized mending ties with North Korea. His high-stakes diplomacy is playing out on the sidelines of a US effort to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. Moon’s effort has been marked by a historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and a rare, albeit brief, reunion of families divided by the war six decades ago. There are, however, limits to how far Moon can proceed absent progress in US-North Korean diplomacy.

    Moon has staked his presidency on achieving peace with North Korea. These stakes are especially high. That’s what a lot of us are worried about,” said Robert Manning, a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, referring to the political risk facing Moon. “The South Koreans have tried to walk right up to the edge of doing things that advance North-South relations without going over the line. The stalemate of our policy is putting them in a really difficult position,” he added.

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