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Council on Foreign Relations Korea Update
December 2013

North Korea Is Seeking Both Economic and Nuclear Development

North Korea revealed its aspirations and perceived constraints through a dual policy announced in March—the "byungjin line"—that seeks to improve the economy while simultaneously strengthening its nuclear "deterrent." Pyongyang's welcome emphasis on improving its economy could be a "breakout" strategy designed to preserve North Korea's nuclear weapons, writes Scott A. Snyder, CFR senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy. Initiatives to diversify foreign trade, promote tourism and economic development zones, and move away from central planning underscore the government's desire to pursue prosperity without sacrificing political control or nuclear capabilities. Read the post on Asia Unbound »


North Korea and the World

Mapping International Projects in North Korea

Designed to map nearly two decades of nongovernmental engagement with North Korea, the website reveals that the country has had more foreign exposure than is widely believed. North Korea has typically interacted with other countries through humanitarian aid groups, some of which also pursued long-term development assistance projects inside the country. However, the business sector has grown recently, with the number of ventures attempting to do business with North Korea increasing dramatically last year. Snyder writes that North Korea's growing interest in business with the outside world will generate opposing conclusions in the ongoing policy debate over North Korea. Read the post on Asia Unbound » Read the post on Asia Unbound »

South Korea's New Role in the World

Asia's Middle Powers? New Book on the Identity and Policy of South Korea and Vietnam

South Korea and Vietnam often profess a "middle power" identity as they consider goals such as promoting regional peace, integration, and the common good as their main foreign policy objectives. Despite this similarity, the two countries are sufficiently different and a comparison yields insights. In addition to presenting a wide range of views on the concepts of middle power and national identity, the contributors to Asia's Middle Powers? offer an enhanced understanding of South Korea and Vietnam's regional behavior and international strategies. Read more » Read more »

CFR's Korea Program in the News

Voice of America (Korean), "'North Korea's Dual Policy of Nuclear and Economic Development is a Breakout Strategy': U.S. Expert" (November 21, 2013)

Global Times, "U.S. Alliance No Deterrent to Mature Seoul-Beijing Ties" (November 19, 2013)

National Interest, "U.S. to Hold More Talks on North Korea with East Asian States" (November 15, 2013)

Yonhap News, "North Korea Resists Efforts by China to Resume Nuclear Talks" (November 15, 2013)



The Program on U.S.-Korea Policy

The program on U.S.-Korea policy was established at the Council on Foreign Relations in September 2011. It aims to strengthen the U.S.-Korea relationship by providing relevant policy recommendations and promoting dialogue on sensitive bilateral, regional, and global issues facing the two countries. The program acknowledges the generous support it has received from the Smith Richardson Foundation, Korea Foundation, and South Korean private sponsors, including Hyundai Motors, Korea International Trade Association, and the Federation of Korean Industries. It also acknowledges with thanks additional support received from individual donor Sandor Hau.

Scott A. Snyder, Director
Follow @snydersas on Twitter

Darcie Draudt, Research Associate


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