Scott A. Snyder and See-won Byun say that uncertainties regarding a new North Korean leadership will create the context in which China, South Korea, and the United States must grapple with their future options for preserving stability in Northeast Asia.
The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has raised serious concerns over the future of the country and stability in the Korean peninsula. His son Kim Jong-un is now expected to take over the helm of the nuclear-armed Communist country, one of the most closed-off societies in the world. While some experts believe the country might see some reform in the period after Kim, others see little hope for change, especially in the ongoing effort to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons.
As the leaders of eighteen countries gather in Bali, Indonesia, this week for the East Asia Summit, Korea University professor Lee Shin-wha argues that there is a deep disconnect between East Asian summitry and Northeast Asian security needs that is likely to remain.
As South Korea marks the third anniversary of its green growth policy, the country has gained international diplomatic benefits from efforts to promote the policy while domestic implementation of green growth policies has been mixed.
Han Sung-joo, former South Korean foreign minister and former ambassador of the ROK to the United States, writes on emerging challenges to U.S.-ROK relations as Lee Myung-bak visits the United States this week.
The U.S. ratification of the stalled Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama indicates that "there is a possibility, despite the very great partisan divisions in Congress, of bipartisan cooperation on economic issues," says CFR's Edward Alden. However, Alden emphasizes that "it is important not to overstate the potential job creation benefits" of the agreements.
As Presidents Lee and Obama reaffirm the relationship and celebrate congressional approval of a long-pending free trade deal, they must also focus on difficult challenges ahead with North Korea and China's rise, say experts.
The longstanding U.S.-South Korea alliance, created as a bulwark against a communist North Korea, has expanded to include tighter trade ties and cooperation on global issues from climate change to international development.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's visit to Washington is likely to see passage of the Free Trade Agreement and coordination on strategies for pushing North Korea toward denuclearization, says CFR's Scott Snyder.
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