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Council on Foreign Relations Korea Update
Korea Update February 2014

New Year's Greetings From Kim Jong-un

In his 2014 New Year's address, Kim Jong-un focused on practical steps to improve North Korea's economy across a wide range of sectors under the party's centralized leadership, writes Scott A. Snyder, CFR senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy. Although Kim called for the establishment of a "favorable climate for improved relations between north and south," reactions from the Park administration suggest that progress in inter-Korean relations will be hard to come by. Read the post on Asia Unbound »


Testing Trustpolitik

South Korean president Park Geun-hye was elected last year pledging a policy of "trustpolitik" designed to promote inter-Korean reconciliation through principled engagement while holding North Korea to account for its actions. But, as Snyder argues, the outcome of negotiations over reopening the Kaesong Industrial Complex last year reveals that inter-Korean progress comes from the establishment of joint structures, not trust. Read the post on Asia Unbound » »

North Korea: A Credible Threat?

North Korea's ability to threaten the United States comes in two forms: the possibility that North Korean fissile material could reach the United States , and the capacity to target U.S. interests abroad, including on the Korean peninsula. CFR's Snyder analyses these threats as part of the "Ask CFR Experts" series. Read the full answer on » »

South Korea: The Backwater That Boomed

South Korea is no longer an emerging market, but not quite a developed market either. As one of Foreign Affairs' "Six Markets to Watch," the country's chief economic virtue—its openness—also subjects it to greater market volatility and risk than its fully developed counterparts, argues Marcus Noland, executive vice president and director of studies at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Read the article in Foreign Affairs » »

Stark Choices for China-ROK Relations

New strategic challenges have emerged in recent months to influence China's future relations with both Koreas. Snyder and See-won Byun of George Washington University explain the defense and economic developments of 2013 and look at prospects for China-South Korea relations in 2014. Read the article » »

CFR's Korea Program in the News

Christian Science Monitor, "North Korea: A Breakout Moment for Kim Jong-un?" (January 19, 2014)

Yonhap (Korea), "U.S. Experts Have a Different Perspective on Korean Unification" (January 12, 2014)

CNN's The Situation Room, "Dennis Rodman Defends His North Korea Trip" (January 8, 2014)

Washington Post, "The Dennis Rodman Problem: Is it Unethical to Visit North Korea?" (January 7, 2014)

Voice of Russia, "Kim Jong-un Talks About His Uncle's Execution" (January 3, 2014)

Radio Free Asia, "Five Key Questions in 2014" (January 1, 2014)


2014-2015 Edward R. Murrow Fellowship Applicants

The Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship is open to applicants who have distinguished credentials in the field of journalism and who have covered international news as a working journalist for print, broadcast, or online media widely available in the United States. The online application deadline is March 1, 2014. For more information, please contact



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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