A couple of weeks ago, an international conference in Pyongyang followed by press reports that North Korea was planning 14 additional SEZs set off the usual breathless “reform-is-around-the-corner” commentary. So, is it different this time? The smoke is never-ending, but is there actually a fire? To start, a little historical perspective. Many, many countries have […]
In new work we are doing on sanctions and inducements, we have been struck by the pervasive bargaining problems that arise around the issue of the reversibility or irreversibility of commitments. The Agreed Framework failed, according to its critics, because it put off the dismantlement of Yongbyon to later stages in the process; the Netanyahu […]
A quick review of some recurrent stories, and at the end, the man bites dog tale. First up, food aid. I had the honor of being invited to testify at the recent UN Commission of Inquiry on North Korean human rights hearings, specifically being asked to address the right to food (hopefully the video will […]
The Graduate School at UCSD recently hosted Brad Roberts, who served in the Obama administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy until early 2013. He directed us to a paper he had written for Japan’s National Institute of Defense Studies on extended deterrence in Northeast Asia (see our reflections […]
We have emphasized the underlying contradictions in the so-called byungjin line: the policy announced following the Central Committee Plenum and Supreme People’s Assembly meeting in the spring that North Korea would simultaneously pursue economic reform and its nuclear weapons program. Our argument– outlined in detail for a piece in Foreign Policy—rested on the premise that […]
We got some pushback on our assessment of the track two meetings in London and Berlin (and made one small factual correction to it) and will be pursuing the debate in future posts. The most important question remains “how willing are the North Koreans to engage in serious negotiations.” We have been taking the announcement […]
Recent South Korean polling results reinforce the finding of an earlier experts survey, documenting deteriorating perceptions of Japan and South Korea-Japan relations. According to results published by the Asan Institute, South Korean perceptions of Japan have fallen noticeably since Abe Shinzo became Prime Minister in December 2012 (see above). Abe himself barely edges out North Korean lead Kim Jong-un in terms of South Korean public perceptions and registers less than half the favorability of Russia’s Vladmir Putin. Yet a clear majority of South Koreans would like to see President Park repair the relationship.
The North Korean nuclear program is back in the news with reports of the restart of the Yongbyon reactor. Last week, TNS polled South Koreans on their views of the North’s nuclear program. The results (above) show a large majority believe there is little chance that the North will give up its nuclear effort, and reveal little consensus as to the best way to try and halt it.
In recent weeks, we have seen a number of interesting developments in — and analyses of — the US-ROK alliance; we are going to spotlight some of them in a two-part post. Today, we focus on the recently concluded Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) and parallel developments in Japan; tomorrow we consider some broader analysis. The […]
The Asan Institute just held its large North Korean conclave, and one of the more interesting things to come out of it was new work by Scott Kemp and Joshua Pollack on North Korea’s enrichment capabilities. Their paper is not out yet, but has already received wide coverage in Japan, South Korea and the US, […]