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Council on Foreign Relations Korea Update May 2014

May 2014

What Hawks and Doves Both Miss in the Asia Pivot

Current China-centric debate on the strategy of rebalancing toward Asia misses a larger point about the U.S. role in the region, writes Janine Davidson, senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Rather than being a zero-sum pivot from other regions, the rebalance is a sustained multilateral effort focused on cooperative approaches to regional stability and security. Read the post on Defense in Depth »



Obama’s Reorientation Is on the Right Course

Over the past few months, Asia watchers have raised doubts about the sustainability of the U.S. rebalance. However, CFR Distinguished Fellow Thomas E. Donilon argues the rebalance remains the right long-term strategy for the United States to support not only security but also social and economic development in the Asia-Pacific region. Read the op-ed on »


Assessing Obama’s Trip to Korea and Japan

Michael Green, senior vice president for the Asia and Japan chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and James Fatheree, executive vice president of the U.S.-Korea Business Council, join Scott A. Snyder, CFR senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy to assess President Barack Obama's trip to Asia in an event at the Korea Economic Institute in Washington moderated by David Sanger, national security correspondent at the New York Times. Watch the event on »

Obama and Park: Leadership in the Face of Crisis

Despite the need to focus on security challenges such as a rumored impending nuclear test, Obama's visit to Seoul in April was overshadowed by South Korean criticism of the response to the Sewol ferry incident. Prior to the U.S. president's trip, Snyder forecasts the wake-up call signaled by South Korean and U.S. management of this and other recent crises. Read the post on Asia Unbound »

Obama Seeks to Bring U.S. Allies Together

The trilateral summit among the United States, South Korea, and Japan in The Hague in late March underscored a crucial message of the Obama administration's rebalancing strategy: regional allies must work together more closely. Snyder discusses the messages behind Obama's Asia trip in April. Read the post on Asia Unbound »


Options for North Korean Nuclear Diplomacy

Stephen Bosworth of Tufts University and Han Sung-joo of Korea University join Richard Bush of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution to discuss the history of nuclear negotiations with North Korea and outline the potential policy options going forward. Listen to the event on »

How to Spot A Shadowy North Korean Business

The latest UN Panel of Experts report on North Korean compliance with sanctions reveals that North Korean can effectively blend into the international trading environment as nondescript entities. Without due diligence, companies could be doing business with North Korean firms in violation of UN sanctions, writes Snyder. Read the post on Asia Unbound »


Addressing the Future of Asian Security

The structure and purpose of security arrangements have evolved since World War II, and East Asian countries are seeking to build new multilateral security architecture. In a panel at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies 2014 Plenum in Seoul, Snyder discussed the challenges for regional security mechanisms, including national identity gaps, growing security dilemmas, and misunderstandings surrounding the United States' presence in Asia. Read the session sketch at the Asan Institute »

Obama Faces Japan-South Korea Relations

Washington's bilateral relations with Tokyo and Seoul are strong, but their relationship with each other has suffered over the last eighteen months. Sheila A. Smith, CFR senior fellow for Japan Studies, gives an overview of sources for the Japan-South Korea estrangement in the lead-up to Obama's visit to the region. Read the article at The Asan Forum »

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.


Asia Today (Korea), "Obama's Asia Visit, 'Perfect Timing for Artillery Fire'?" (April 29, 2014)

Yonhap (Korea), "American Experts, 'U.S. Isn't "Blocking" China, It Is Placing a 'Guardrail"" (April 29, 2014)

NPR, "North Korea Issues Sexist Tirade Against South Korean Leader" (April 28, 2014)

NPR, "Out of North Korea, A Sexist Rant Against South's President" (April 28, 2014)

Yonhap (Korea), "U.S., Visit to Japan 'Frustrating,' Visit to Korea 'Calm and Positive'" (April 26, 2014)

RadioKorea (Korea), "Obama's Korea Visit, 'Mourns Loss as a Father of Two Daughters'" (April 25, 2014)

U.S. News, "This North Korea Nuclear Test Would Be Different" (April 25, 2014)

RadioKorea (Korea), "Korea-U.S. Crisis Response Ability Faces Questions" (April 24, 2014)

Munhwa Ilbo (Korea), "Spending 3.5 Trillion Won on Nuclear Weapons and Missiles" (April 23, 2014)

Los Angeles Times, "Ferry Disaster Fills South Korea With Shame" (April 22, 2014)

Quartz, "North Korea Is a Shipping Dead Zone—But It's Getting Weapons, Ivory and Drugs Out" (April 21, 2014)

Wall Street Journal, "Secondary Sources Asia: Reforming China's State-Market Balance" (April 3, 2014)

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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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