South Korea

  • New Missile Tests Cast Doubt on North Korea’s Commitment to Nuclear Talks

    New missile launches from North Korea could derail US President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to restart talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear program. The tests are “another sign that [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un believes he has the upper hand over Trump and that the administration’s ‘maximum pressure’ strategy isn’t working,” according to Alexander Vershbow, an Atlantic Council distinguished fellow and former US ambassador to South Korea.

    According to South Korean officials, two short-range missiles were fired from the east coast of North Korea on July 25, landing harmlessly in the sea. Seoul has suggested that these missiles could be a “new type of missile,” design but likely are in violation of UN Security Council resolutions barring North Korea from testing ballistic missiles.  In addition to the tests, North Korea released images on July 23 of a new submarine, which could be large enough to carry nuclear-armed missiles. The July 25 missile tests are the first reported since several other short-range missiles were fired on May 4.


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  • 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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