South Korea

  • 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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  • The United States and North Korea: Back to Square One?

    US President Donald J. Trump on August 24 abruptly cancelled Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s planned trip to North Korea. Explaining his decision in a tweet, Trump wrote: “because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

    Days later, on August 28, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said it appeared the North Koreans were having second thoughts about denuclearization.

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  • Trump-Kim Summit’s Success Was ‘Oversold’

    Interview with Alexander Vershbow, an Atlantic Councildistinguished fellow and former US ambassador to South Korea

    The recent setbacks to US efforts to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons hold a lesson for US President Donald J. Trump’s administration: “It is a reminder that we need to engage with Kim Jong-un with our eyes open, and not put so much faith in the value of good personal relations,” according to Alexander Vershbow, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

    Trump and Kim participated in a summit in Singapore on June 12. Trump has since lavished praise on the North Korean dictator, describing him as “a very worthy, smart negotiator.”  In his August 24 tweets in which he announced his decision to cancel US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s visit to Pyongyang because he felt the North Koreans have not made enough progress on denuclearization, Trump made sure to send his “warmest regards and respect” to Kim.

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