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Council on Foreign Relations Korea Update
July 2012

Japan-South Korea Relations: Time to Open Both Eyes

Pacific Forum CSIS president Ralph A. Cossa analyzes Japan-ROK relations and recommends that the United States play a mediating role.

In some instances, the flare-ups in and between Japan and South Korea represent mere political opera with little real substance at stake. But the latest cause for tension—the Republic of Korea's cancellation of both the recent signing of a military information agreement and its plan to pursue a sensitive (but sensible) military acquisition agreement with Japan—has serious national security implications and affects Washington's relations with both nations. Read the Report »


Security Cooperation in Northeast Asia

U.S. Rebalancing: Challenged by Nationalism

An unanticipated second-order effect of the U.S. rebalancing strategy has been the U.S. desire to see greater "lateral" cooperation among close allies of the United States, including between Japan and South Korea. Despite the South Korean proclivity to resist working with Japan, doing so is clearly in South Korea's interests, argues CFR Senior Fellow for Korea studies Scott A. Snyder. Read More on Asia Unbound »

Military Assurances Are Not Only Nuclear

While South Korea has clearly valued the U.S. nuclear umbrella, positive military assurances have not been exclusively nuclear in nature. Forward-deployed troops, joint military consultations and exercises, and the offer of advanced conventional capabilities have also been important, argue Snyder and Joyce Lee in their South Korea case study in Security Assurances and Nuclear Proliferation, edited by Jeffrey W. Knopf. Read the Book »

Sino-American Policy Coordination toward North Korea

China's overriding focus on stability in North Korea limits the extent to which China is willing to cooperate with the United States on policy toward North Korea. A review of Sino-U.S. diplomatic coordination toward North Korea shows that China is most willing to cooperate with the United States when escalation of tensions involves potential confrontation with other states such as the United States and South Korea. China however prefers to strengthen ties with North Korea and minimizes cooperation with other states when North Korea faces potential internal instability, argues Snyder. Read the Article »

Changes in North Korea

The Missing Man: The Post-Kim Jong-il Era Begins In Earnest

Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho's removal from all posts due to "illness" is the first purge of a senior figure in North Korea since Kim Jong-un assumed his father's posts last April. With Ri's removal, either Kim Jong-un has kicked off the training wheels by ditching his mentor or his departure marks the consolidation of some other power behind the throne, argues Snyder. Read More on Asia Unbound »

CFR 2013–2014 International Affairs Fellowships

International Affairs Fellowship in South Korea, sponsored by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies

This program assists midcareer scholars and professionals from the public and private sectors to advance their analytic capabilities and broaden their foreign policy experience in South Korea. Applicants do not have to be Korea specialists, and knowledge of the Korean language is not a requirement.

International Affairs Fellowship in Japan, sponsored by Hitachi, Ltd.

This program provides a select group of midcareer U.S. citizens the opportunity to expand their professional horizons by embarking on a period of research or other professional activity in Japan. The program is intended primarily for those without prior substantial experience in Japan. Knowledge of the Japanese language is not a requirement.

Deadline: October 1. New online application instructions, program details, and eligibility requirements can be found online at For more information, please contact or 212.434.9740. Read More on »

CFR's Korea Program in the News

Radio Free Asia: "Power Struggle in North Korea?" (July 18, 2012)

Washington Post: "North Korea Names Kim Jong Eun 'Marshal' of the Military" (July 18, 2012)

Korea Times: "Are North Korean Moves a Sign of Strenth or Stress?" (July 18, 2012)



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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