Showing posts with label Korea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Korea. Show all posts

4 February 2019

The World Bank and IMF are in crisis. It's time to push a radical new vision

David Adler and Yanis Varoufakis

The president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, will step down on 1 February – three and a half years before the end of his term – in search of greener pastures. His readiness to resign from the leadership of one the two most powerful international financial institutions is a worrying omen. But it is also an important wake-up call.

The World Bank and the IMF are the last remaining columns of the Bretton Woods edifice under which capitalism experienced its golden age in the 1950s and 1960s. While that system, and the fixed exchange rate regime it relied upon, bit the dust in 1971, the two institutions continued to support global finance along purely Atlanticist lines: with Europe’s establishment choosing the IMF’s managing director and the United States selecting the head of the World Bank.

3 February 2019

Four Problems on the Korean Peninsula

PDF file 20.7 MB 

North Korean provocations and threats have created an unstable environment on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea's ongoing development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles increases the possibility of their use against regional states, furthering instability across the region and beyond. The United States, its allies, and other theater powers, including China and Russia, must attend to four interconnected threats. Failure to prepare will increase the chance of mistakes and miscalculation and constrain options to reduce the likelihood or gravity of future conflicts.

Problem 1: North Korea is on a trajectory of nuclear development that has transformed it into a fundamentally different kind of strategic challenge — a state with a significant nuclear arsenal, an increasing range and number of delivery systems, and a nuclear doctrine of early or even preemptive use.

29 January 2019

Can Kim Jong Un Bring North Korea In From the Cold?

For nearly a quarter-century, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the North Korean regime's continued survival has baffled observers. When North Korea’s founding leader Kim Il Sung died, North Korea entered a period of famine that lasted three years and killed hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of North Korean citizens. Yet the regime carried on under his son, Kim Jong Il, and his grandson, Kim Jong Un, currently leads the country, making it the only communist regime to practice hereditary leadership succession—not once, but twice. 

So how has the North Korean regime remained in power for more than 60 years under the unbroken leadership of three generations of the Kim family? To evaluate the future prospects of North Korea—be it gradual evolution, sudden transformation or collapse—it is critical to understand how the hereditary leadership system has developed historically, its current state and its future prospects.

24 January 2019

North Korea, U.S.: Trump and Kim Hope to Get Detente Back on Track

What Happened

A second Trump-Kim summit is on the way. Following a 90-minute meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's lead nuclear negotiator, Kim Yong Chol, in Washington, the White House confirmed that a much-anticipated, second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would take place "near the end of February." At the same time, U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun and North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui are meeting in Sweden for talks that will continue through the weekend. Pyongyang and Washington have yet to provide any details as to the location of the big summit, but Hanoi or Danang in Vietnam could host the talks, as could Singapore – the site of their first summit – or Stockholm.

22 January 2019

Time for a Modest Deal: How to Get U.S.-North Korean Talks Moving Forward


What’s new? 2017’s war of words between the U.S. and North Korea is a fading memory. In its place has come a period of calm, particularly after the leader-level summit in June. But substantive negotiations have foundered, and the parties’ current holding pattern cannot be sustained forever.

Why does it matter? The lack of progress means that U.S.-North Korean relations could easily turn ugly once more – perhaps reawakening the spectre of war on the Korean peninsula. Hardliners on both sides (and in South Korea, too) are poised to exploit opportunities to derail talks altogether.

What should be done? Negotiators should aim for small, concrete achievements that serve the main parties’ long-term interests: for Washington, progress toward verifiable closure of the Yongbyon nuclear facility; for Pyongyang, a commitment to develop an end-of-war declaration; and for both Koreas, a reopening of the Kaesong industrial complex.

21 January 2019

There’s No Way Americans Can Evacuate Seoul Before North Korea Demolishes the City

by David Axe

North Korea probably can level towns and cities faster than America and its allies can clear them of their residents.

More than 30 million people including hundreds of thousands of foreigners live within range of North Korea's 13,000 artillery pieces.

Artillery barrages in the opening hours of a full-scale war on the Korean peninsula could kill or injure 250,000 people, the U.S. Defense Department estimated.

But evacuating the vulnerable population could prove impossible, the California think-tank RAND explained in a January 2019 report .

The metropolitan area surrounding Seoul, which lies just 25 miles south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, alone is home to 25 million people including 1.5 million foreign nationals. 150,000 of the foreigners are Americans. Another million are Chinese.

5 January 2019

North Korea warns of 'new path', but options limited

Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) - In his New Year address on Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned he might take a “new path” if Washington maintains sanctions amid his country’s push for economic development, but experts say it may be too late to change the trajectory of negotiations.

Kim did not specify what the new approach might be. His warning may sound similar to the bellicose rhetoric that Pyongyang often deployed before last year’s summit, but he cannot jeopardize the hard-won thaw and has few options beyond appealing directly to U.S. President Donald Trump, experts say.

State media have in recent weeks accused the State Department of risking returning to “exchanges of fire” of the past by ramping up sanctions, while crediting Trump for his efforts to continue talks.

As both sides struggle to find a breakthrough in stalled talks, the speech shows Kim shifting the focus from calls for complete dismantlement of its nuclear arsenal and hinting at including countries other than the United States.

12 December 2018

Moving Toward Korean Cooperation

By GPF Staff

The two Koreas are gradually reducing defenses along the Demilitarized Zone and exploring possibilities for major cross-border infrastructure projects.

To cement their fragile detente and lay the groundwork for potential reunification in the distant future, North Korea and South Korea are gradually reducing defenses along the Demilitarized Zone and exploring possibilities for major cross-border infrastructure projects. This graphic maps out the early stages of this effort – and how these initiatives could deepen South Korea’s economic integration with outside players like Russia and China.

9 December 2018

North Korea, US 'Left of Launch' Cyber Capabilities, and Deterrence

By Ankit Panda

U.S. “left of launch” cyber capabilities may have unexpected and undesirable consequences on crisis stability.

North Korea today is a de facto nuclear state. The diplomatic process that has been running throughout 2018 between North Korea and the United States has, with the exception of a few cosmetic steps, revealed a pathway to Pyongyang’s disarmament.

If North Korea’s disarmament remains a possibility, it is not a realistic one in the short-term. What is, however, real in the short-term is the nature of the threat posed by Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal to the United States and its Northeast Asian allies.

Fortunately, the basic logic of deterrence that has prevailed with North Korea since the 1953 armistice to end the Cold War remains largely in place. Pyongyang understands that nuclear employment in a conflict would be costly and possibly trigger the very regime change its nuclear weapons were designed to prevent.

8 December 2018

Is North Korea Exerting 'Asymmetric Leverage' Over China?

By Corey Bell

What if Pyongyang is using nuclearization as a means to alter the terms of its relationship with China?

The last few years have witnessed dramatic oscillations in the tenor and substance of the Sino-North Korean relationship. As is well known, the relationship suffered a deep dive in 2017 through to mid-2018 on the back of a number of North Korean missile and nuclear weapons tests — provocations that prompted China to publicly rebuke Pyongyang and even support sanctions against the hermit state. However, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping have since met on three occasions, and these meetings have been followed by a series of lower level bilateral forums and increases in Chinese aid. The latter developments not only defied trends; they also surprised many well-credentialed analysts whom several month ago concluded that the special, so-called “blood alliance,” or “lips and teeth” relationship between these two neighbors, is no more. How or why did these experts get it wrong?

27 November 2018

Where Did North Korea’s Cyber Army Come From?

Steve Miller

North Korean hackers continue to circumvent protections and compromise computer systems around the globe. Pyongyang’s cyber operatives, like the Lazarus Group, have been linked to computer system infiltrations like the 2014 Sony Pictures Studios hack prior to the release of the U.S. film “The Interview” and the attempted theft of close to $1 billion from the central Bangladesh bank using the SWIFT banking network in 2016.

But how did Pyongyang become so adept at hacking while not possessing rich resources and being under tough International sanctions?

Seungjoo Kim, a professor at Korea University’s Graduate School of Information Security says the answer, in part, is because North Korea’s computer hackers operate in China and Europe with easy access to the internet.

Who’s Driving the Wedge Into US-South Korea Relations?

By Benjamin A. Engel

There has been concern for months about a rift the U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) alliance. As the diplomatic torrent of 2018 involving both Koreas and the United States took off ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, U.S. commentators were warning that North Korea wanted to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington. Following the Singapore Summit between U.S. President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June 2018, more alarms were sounded about North Korean wedge-driving. With all the wedge talk, South Korean and U.S. officials have often stared into cameras to assure the world that all is well in their alliance. 

22 November 2018

The Right Way to Manage a Nuclear North Korea

By Ankit Panda

North Korea is a nuclear weapons power, and even though Kim Jong Un signed his name onto three declarations this year pledging “denuclearization”—two with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and one with U.S. President Donald Trump—there’s no indication that he will give up his nuclear capability any time soon. He sees nuclear weapons as essential to his regime’s survival and, ultimately, his security. North Korea’s de facto head of state, Kim Yong Nam, has suggested that nuclear capabilities—the country’s “treasured sword”—may be crucial to the country’s economy, as well: he describes them as enabling rather than inhibiting economic development.

17 November 2018

‘Camouflage, Concealment, and Deception’


While the Trump administration continues to pursue its diplomatic opening with North Korea, Pyongyang has quietly continued work at its ballistic missile bases in rugged, remote corners of the country, according to a report released this week by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington.

Joseph Bermudez, the report’s primary author and a North Korea expert, analyzed commercial satellite imagery and identified 13 of an estimated 20 missile bases scattered across North Korea, where troops are preparing for a possible military conflict with the United States.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump dismissed the report, writing on Twitter that he is aware of the bases and that the document contains “nothing new.”

13 November 2018

South Korea’s Emergence as an Important Player in Cryptocurrency

By Troy Stangarone

When it comes to cryptocurrency, North Korea tends to get most of the attention on the Korean Peninsula. Since 2017, North Korea has stolen $571 million from cryptocurrency exchanges and accounted for nearly 65 percent of all cryptocurrency stolen. Despite North Korea’s illicit activities in this burgeoning field, the recent acquisition of Europe’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by a South Korean investment firm is just the latest sign that South Korea is developing into a significant player on the licit side of cryptocurrency and its underlying blockchain technology.

In late October, NXMH, the Belgium-based subsidiary of the South Korean investment firm NXC, acquired Bitstamp, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Europe by trading volume. The transaction will give NXC ownership of both Bitstamp and the smaller South Korean exchange Korbit. While Korbit and Bitstamp will operate separately, the two exchanges will share technology and resources for research and development.

10 November 2018

India and South Korea Win Waivers From Iranian Oil Sanctions, but the Pressure's Still On

The United States will find it necessary to grant a limited number of waivers to sanctions it will impose on Iranian oil customers, but in exchange, it will demand that the countries substantially cut those imports. The United States will continue to pursue its goal of reducing Iran's oil exports to zero, and it will demand further reductions when the six-month waivers expire in order to renew them. Even the Iranian customers who gain waivers will find it difficult to set up mechanisms to pay for the oil or to arrange shipping and insurance to transport it. India, South Korea, Japan and Turkey are the countries most likely to receive waivers, while others, including China, will continue to try to secure them.

31 October 2018

North Korea is using the internet ‘like a criminal syndicate’

By: Justin Lynch  

North Korea has long been known as a hermit kingdom, but it is learning to embrace the internet. The Asian country has “dramatically” changed its internet use patterns, according to a new report, which could make imposing sanctions and defending American networks more difficult. North Korea is using cyber operations to conduct low-level financial crimes and the country’s leaders are increasingly using the internet as a part of their daily life, according to an Oct. 25 report from Recorded Future, a threat intelligence firm. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is quick to embrace technology and then cast it aside, directing hacking operations along the way as he runs the country “like a criminal syndicate,” according to the Recorded Future report.

12 October 2018

U.S. Auto Tariffs Would Deliver a Particularly Painful Sting to South Korea

Although South Korea renegotiated its free trade agreement with the United States this year, it failed to secure protection from threatened U.S. tariffs on automobiles.  While South Korean auto manufacturing on U.S. shores provides the sector with some insulation, with its reliance on the U.S. market, tariffs would have sweeping effects. However, South Korea's smaller market for imports means that it cannot hope to eliminate the trade deficit. South Korea is likely to offer some sort of side agreement capping auto exports, while also dangling the prospect of stepping up its purchases of U.S. goods and its investment in the country.

8 October 2018

Pompeo’s Doomed Mission to Pyongyang


Apart from Brett Kavanaugh, the most nervous man in Washington currently may well be Mike Pompeo. The secretary of state is flying to North Korea this weekend with hopes of nailing down the framework of a disarmament deal with Kim Jong-un. If he fails, President Donald Trump, who has pronounced himself “in love” with Kim, will be upset. He will almost certainly fail.

There is no reason for Kim to let Pompeo succeed, and some of this is Trump’s doing. Ever since the June summit in Singapore, where he appraised the man he once called “Little Rocket Man” as a great and trustworthy leader, Trump has dropped even the slightest hint of pressure against Kim’s regime. He has publicly said Kim should feel no rush to honor his vague pledge to “denuclearize”; he’s declined to back up his own negotiators’ demand that their North Korean counterparts at least define the term; and U.N. sanctions are still in place, but he has called for no action against Russia or China for violating them. When Trump confessed at a rally last weekend in West Virginia that he and Kim “fell in love” at their summit, he pulverized the last shred of leverage that Pompeo might have brandished this coming weekend.

6 October 2018

I Visited the Chinese-North Korean Border. Here's What I Found.

Amid a stalemated America-North Korea dialogue over an end-war declaration, President Donald Trump unequivocally said on September 25, “The sanctions will stay in place until denuclearization occurs.” Behind his remark is a long-standing belief shared by many North Korean watchers. The belief is that Kim Jong-un, a young and callow leader of one of the most economically backward and socially unstable countries in the world, would feel his throne jeopardized by his country’s dire economic conditions brought on by the draconian enforcement of international sanctions. This theory then suggests that such pressure would eventually lead Kim to succumb to Washington’s demands so that he could stay in power. For instance, North Korea’s conciliatory gesture from this year onwards seemed to further strengthen this belief. In fact, the White House, after witnessing Pyongyang’s sudden reversal, also attributed Kim’s change of behavior to Trump’s “maximum pressure campaign.” However, was the North Korea’s volte-face really made possible thanks to the sanctions? Maybe yes, maybe no. The truth is a bit more complicated than widely assumed.