US Korea Institute

Tuesday February 21st 2017
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Evil geniuses, stumbling fools, or something in between, we will attempt to divine the real motives behind Pyongyang’s foreign policy moves.

What do Fox News and North Korea Have in Common?

What do Fox News and North Korea Have in Common?

Greta Van Susteren of Fox News and Pyongyang seem to be in agreement, or at least to share assumptions about the puppet-puppetmaster nature of the U.S.-ROK relationship. ”Why won’t South Korea back us 100%? We don’t need 95%, we need 100%” she whines on her on her Gretawire blog published by Fox News. Her assessment of South Korea’s [...]

Demography is Destiny: Why South Korea Hasn’t Seen the Last of the Sunshine

Demography is Destiny: Why South Korea Hasn’t Seen the Last of the Sunshine

The autobiography of the late President Kim Dae Jung, best known for his “Sunshine Policy” of engagement with North Korea, recently hit bookshelves in Korea. Kim’s election in 1997 on his fourth try for the presidency marked the first peaceful transition to an opposition party in Korean history and ushered in an unprecedented 10 years of [...]

The Maritime Boundary between North & South Korea in the Yellow (West) Sea

The Maritime Boundary between North & South Korea in the Yellow (West) Sea

South Korea has become a dynamic and lively country, providing global leadership in numerous areas, but it is situated in a complicated region and faces serious challenges in dealing with its neighbors. The sinking of the 1,200-ton corvette Cheonan on March 26, resulting in the deaths of 46 sailors, is a ready reminder of the instability of the [...]

North Korea: Ghost of Roh vs. Living Lee

North Korea: Ghost of Roh vs. Living Lee

How the sinking of the Cheonan is playing out in South Korea’s political discourse. In the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” East Asia’s most important historical novel, the ghost of a dead general, Guan Yu, kills a living one, Xiahuo Dun. South Koreans are drawing parallels in the June 2 regional elections. Will the deceased [...]

Sanctions: An Important Component of U.S. North Korea Policy

Sanctions: An Important Component of U.S. North Korea Policy

The debate over the utility of sanctions in foreign policy is usually depicted in binary fashion, i.e. whether the U.S. should use pressure or engagement. The reality, of course, is that sanctions and engagement—along with economic assistance, military deterrence, alliances, and public diplomacy—are all diplomatic tools to influence the [...]

Looking for Leverage in All the Wrong Places

Looking for Leverage in All the Wrong Places

It is an article of faith in Washington that sanctions have forced North Korea to become more pliable at the negotiating table in the past and are doing so now. This is self-delusion. To North Korea, sanctions are clear evidence of U.S. hostile intent. Not only has it found ways to evade them, but it has also retaliated for their imposition by [...]

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Credit for photo of young North Korean girl: T.M. All rights reserved, used with permission.