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Council on Foreign Relations Korea Update April 2014

April 2014

Inside North Korea’s Shadowy Arms Trade

The UN panel of experts' report on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) sanctions highlights Panama's discovery of North Korea's illicit weapons trade with Cuba. Scott A. Snyder, CFR senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy, points out that although the report may reassure North Korea, since some of its arms trade remains undiscovered, the mutual efforts of member states like Panama are increasing the efficacy of sanctions. Read the post on Asia Unbound »



Despite Political Risks, Sino-DPRK Trade Shows Stable Growth

Foreign analysts watched the China-DPRK trade balance closely in response to Kim Jong-un's succession in the winter of 2012 and North Korea's third nuclear test in February 2013. But, the apparent downturn in economic relations during winter could be explained as a regular seasonal phenomenon, writes Snyder, not as evidence of China's efforts to punish North Korea or shape politics in Pyongyang. Read the post on Asia Unbound »

Signs of North Korea’s Military Upgrades

While many Korea watchers conclude that North Korean military capabilities are rapidly deteriorating, Bruce Bechtol, associate professor of political science at Angelo State University, argues that short-range missile tests demonstrate Pyongyang presents a real threat to the security and stability of the peninsula. Read the post on Asia Unbound »

Report Cites Evasion of UN Security Council Sanctions

The United Nations Panel of Experts on North Korea released its final report regarding compliance with sanctions on March 6, 2014. Snyder joined panel coordinator Martin Uden, Foreign Press Association president David Michaels, and Ambassador Oh Joon, representative of the South Korean (ROK) Mission to the UN, to discuss the report's findings and implications. Read more at the Foreign Press Association »


Japan-ROK Relations: Prospects and Challenges

Though tensions between Japan and South Korea are palpable, trilateral meetings in The Hague and President Barack Obama's upcoming Asia tour in April demonstrate renewed interest in improving relations between the two U.S. allies. Yoshihide Soeya of Keio University, Woo Jung-Yeop of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, and Snyder discussed prospects and challenges for these relations in a panel at the Stimson Center. Read more at »

Recent Publications

Scott Snyder, "The Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asian Stability," in International Relations of Asia (second edition), ed. David Shambaugh and Michael Yahuda (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2014).



Bloomberg News, "North Korea, Citing Improved Ties With South, Urges United States to Engage" (March 24, 2014)

Kyunghyang Shinmun, "Japan: 'Photo Op Meeting,' United States: 'The Starting Point for Improved Relations'" (March 23, 2014)

Al-Jazeera, "Will North Korea Abuses Lead to War Crimes Court?" (March 18, 2014)

Foreign Press Association, "FPA Signature Briefing on North Korea Sanctions" (March 18, 2014)

Seoul Shinmun, "U.S. Believes Korea and Japan Both at Fault for Worsened Relations" (March 15, 2014)


Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today. For the latest analysis and insight, read Asia Unbound.


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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