South Korea

  • 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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  • Trump Goes to Asia: An Opportunity to Assert US Leadership

    On his first full business day as president, Donald J. Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral trade agreement with eleven other Asia-Pacific nations that was viewed as a pillar of US commitment to Asia.

    At the height of a nuclear crisis with North Korea, he instructed his advisers to pull the United States out of a free-trade pact with South Korea, a longtime US ally.

    Further, he ratcheted up the rhetoric with Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s mercurial leader, who conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of international condemnation.

    Compare these actions with his eagerness to engage Asian leaders. Even before he assumed office, Trump met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He has also hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, met South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan o-cha, and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Thuc at the White House. In addition, Trump had “a very friendly” phone call with the Philippines controversial leader Rodrigo Duterte who has been accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.

    Trump’s actions and rhetoric have left the region feeling uneasy. By rejecting TPP, he removed a key pillar of Obama’s “rebalance” toward Asia, but has yet to articulate his own Asia strategy.

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  • TRADE IN ACTION October 6, 2017

    Lagarde October 6 Newsletter Tile
    THIS WEEK IN TRADE
    South Korea indicated on Wednesday it was open to talks on revising a 2012 trade pact with the United States after initial differences that followed President Donald Trump's threat to terminate the accord unless it was renegotiated. 

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  • Trudeau Delivers Rallying Cry to Save Global Order

    Canadian prime minister, South Korean president, pianist Lang Lang receive Atlantic Council’s Global Citizen Award

    Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister and the recipient of the Atlantic Council’s 2017 Global Citizen Award, on September 19 delivered a passionate rallying cry to protect the alliances that have underpinned global security and prosperity since the end of World War II, warning that this decades-old global order is not cast in stone.

    “Worldwide, the long-established international order is being tested,” Trudeau said, noting that Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its subsequent encroachment in Ukraine marked the first major territorial seizure in Europe since World War II.

    “This is not the time for retrenchment,” said Trudeau. “This is a time for the Atlantic democracies to renew our commitment to universal standards of rights and liberty enforced through a multilateral rules-based order that has promoted peace and stability, and stood the test of time.”

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  • Trudeau, Moon, Lang Lang to Receive Atlantic Council Award

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and Chinese pianist, educator, and philanthropist Lang Lang will be honored at the Atlantic Council’s eighth annual Global Citizen Awards reception in New York on September 19.

    The Global Citizen Award celebrates contributions by individuals toward improving the state of the world.

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  • A Strategy for Dealing with North Korea

    Former US undersecretary of state, R. Nicholas Burns, discusses US options, the importance of Chinese pressure, and lessons learned from the Iran nuclear crisis

    New sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council on September 11 in response to North Korea’s latest nuclear test are “not significant enough,” according to R. Nicholas Burns, an Atlantic Council board member who served as undersecretary of state for political affairs in the George W. Bush administration.

    Sanctions must be part of a “patient long-term strategy” that includes deterrence, working closely with allies, and negotiations, said Burns, laying out the United States’ options for dealing with the North Korean crisis. 

    Capping a summer marked by defiant intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un dramatically escalated the crisis on September 3 by successfully testing a miniaturized hydrogen bomb that is capable of being placed on an ICBM. On September 15, North Korea launched a missile over Japan—it's second such act in just over two weeks. The test was in defiance of a fresh round of sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council on North Korea earlier in September. 

    As the third-highest-ranking official at the State Department from 2005 to 2008, Burns was the lead US negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program. Drawing on that experience, he emphasized the need for a multilateral approach to defuse the North Korean crisis. China, he said, would be a critical player in such an approach.

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  • The United States’ ‘Horrible Options’ for Dealing with North Korea

    With Kim Jong-un ratcheting up tensions on the Korean Peninsula, US President Donald J. Trump is left with two “horrible” options to deal with the threat posed by the North Korean regime, according to Atlantic Council board member and a former acting and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Michael Morell.

    Acknowledging that he has “serious doubts” about the effectiveness of diplomacy to defuse the crisis, Morell said that a non-diplomatic solution leaves the United States with less than palatable alternatives. Washington would have to weigh the options of conducting a pre-emptive strike on North Korea’s missiles and nuclear facilities, or accepting the fact that North Korea has these capabilities and using a strategy of containment and deterrence.

    Both options could leave thousands of people dead, Morell said. “Both options are horrible options. The problem is, it looks like the president of the United States is going to have to choose one of them,” he added.

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