Asia and Pacific

Testimony

Confronting the North Korean Threat: Reassessing Policy Options

Author: Scott A. Snyder

In a testimony to the Senate committee on foreign relations, Scott A. Snyder provided an assessment of the threat posed by North Korea and listed a number of policy options that the United States can pursue. Snyder argued that the window of opportunity to achieve North Korea’s peaceful denuclearization may have closed. He argued that the Donald Trump administration should appoint a senior envoy for North Korea, seek to spur internal debates among North Korean elites over the costs of North Korea’s nuclear development, and maintain diplomatic dialogue with North Korea in order to spell out clearly the parameters for managing the relationship and expectations for North Korean behavior while strengthening deterrence and applying international pressure.

See more in North Korea; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament

News Release

Kurlantzick Chronicles the U.S. Secret War in Laos and Creation of a Paramilitary CIA in New Book

“Over the course of the war, U.S. bombing of Laos would become so intense that it averaged one attack every eight minutes for nearly a decade,” observes Joshua Kurlantzick in his new book, A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA. Kurlantzick, a Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia, mines extensive interviews and recently declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) records to give a definitive account of the secret war in the tiny Southeast Asian nation of Laos, which lasted from 1961 to 1973, and was the largest covert operation in U.S. history. The conflict forever changed the CIA from a relatively small spying agency into an organization with vast paramilitary powers.

See more in Laos; Vietnam; Intelligence; Wars and Warfare

Article

Nuclear Test, Political Fallout, and Domestic Turmoil

Authors: Scott A. Snyder and See-won Byun
Comparative Connections

South Korea’s domestic political vacuum following the impeachment of Park Geun-hye on December 9 overshadows prospects for renewing China-ROK relations in the year ahead. While the current cycle of DPRK provocations and international sanctions has drawn attention to vital Chinese interests in ensuring stability on the peninsula, Beijing’s deteriorating bilateral relationships with the two Koreas and the United States impede immediate regional efforts to break this cycle.

See more in United States; Asia and Pacific; Regional Security; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Article

Assessing U.S.-Asia Relations in a Time of Transition

Author: Sheila A. Smith
Asia Policy

“Although Abe’s quick reach out to Trump in the wake of an election has eased some of the anxiety about the future of the alliance under new U.S. leadership, the larger uncertainty about how the new president will shake up U.S. policy toward Asia continues to shape Japanese attitudes on the transition,” writes CFR Senior Fellow Sheila Smith.

See more in United States; Asia and Pacific; Presidents and Chiefs of State; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Article

The Sea Where The Sun Rises

Author: Sheila A. Smith
Outlook India

"For much of Japan’s modern history, the sea has protected the Japanese from their neighbors,” yet today they are alarmed by the increasing evidence that “China may have a far greater appetite for risk in Asia’s near seas,” says CFR Senior Fellow Sheila Smith

See more in Japan; Defense and Security

Article

Donald Trump Must Take North Korea's Nuclear Threat Seriously

Author: Scott A. Snyder
Forbes

During his annual New Year’s address on Sunday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s dropped a bombshell: He stated as part of his review of the past year's accomplishments that North Korea has entered “the final stage in preparations to test-launch” an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). One that could hit the United States. To deal with the threat, the Trump administration should strengthen sanctions and find a way to work with China or, at a minimum, should isolate North Korea as an essential area of cooperation in an otherwise contentious U.S.-China relationship. 

See more in North Korea; Nuclear Energy; Defense and Security

Op-Ed

Trump and China: 5 Views From Beijing

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

When the Chinese Foreign Ministry expresses “serious concern” about things Donald Trump has said about Taiwan—and a party-controlled newspaper calls him “as ignorant as a child”—it’s clear that Beijing is alarmed. Yet after spending last week in China, I came away struck by the overall complacency of Chinese attitudes toward the president-elect, writes Stephen Sestanovich. 

See more in China; United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State