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

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.

5 October 2018

Learning to Love Kim's Bomb

By Joshua Shifrinson

Upon returning from the Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June, U.S. President Donald Trump declared the North Koreaproblem “solved.” Many experts did not share his optimism. Pyongyang, they argued, had done nothing to indicate that it was committed to “complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization.” And nothing since then—up to and including the recent meeting between U.S. and North Korean officials on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York—has indicated otherwise. Trump, in other words, was fleeced. 

The president’s North Korea critics are right: Pyongyang has taken no steps to denuclearize in the last three months, and there’s no reason to think that it will anytime soon. Such critics are wrong, however, to assume that this is necessarily bad news. In fact, Kim’s nuclear arsenal may be more opportunity than threat. It makes a new balance of power possible in Northeast Asia—one that could make the region more stable and reduce the risk of war. Ironically, such a settlement can succeed only if the Trump administration’s North Korea policy keeps failing. 

4 October 2018

North and South Korea’s New Military Agreement

By Sukjoon Yoon

At the Pyongyang summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, held from September 18-20, 2018, a declaration was signed by the ranking military officials of the two Koreas. This agreement is intended to prevent military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula. Specifically it establishes buffer zones, based on the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) (a.k.a. the Armistice Line) on land, and on the Northern Limit Line (NLL) at sea. Optimists see the agreement as a useful step toward better relations; pessimists see it as a step too far, given the continuing military tensions on the Korean Peninsula. A balanced appraisal suggests that it is too soon to decide.

1 October 2018

Resetting the Terms of North Korea Talks

By Phillip Orchard 

The Pyongyang Declaration changes little but hints at a path forward. 

Roughly thirteen years ago, in a joint statement released at the conclusion of the fourth round of six-party talks on North Korea’s budding nuclear program, Pyongyang pledged to “abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.” Less than a year later, the North tested its first nuclear device. In 2008, to revive the diplomatic process and ease Western sanctions pressure, the North Koreans blew up a cooling tower at the Yongbyon nuclear reactor complex under the watchful eye of international inspectors and provided the U.S. what they claimed was a full inventory of their nuclear activities. Since then, of course, the North has tested five additional nukes, each larger than the last, plus three intercontinental ballistic missiles (albeit with only partial success).

21 September 2018

North Korea's Hackers Play the Long Game

By Ben West

A U.S. federal investigation has shown that Pyongyang has been planning its cyberattacks far in advance, typically with the aim of stealing money rather disrupting its enemies. North Korea and others rely on invasive surveillance to increase the potency of their attacks, yet such action increases the chances that hackers will be detected ahead of time. Investigations into hacking can force assailants to alter their tactics and operations, but they are not enough to stop them outright.

8 September 2018

North Korea's Unit 180, the cyber warfare cell that worries the West

Ju-min Park, James Pearson

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea’s main spy agency has a special cell called Unit 180 that is likely to have launched some of its most daring and successful cyber attacks, according to defectors, officials and internet security experts. North Korea has been blamed in recent years for a series of online attacks, mostly on financial networks, in the United States, South Korea and over a dozen other countries. Cyber security researchers have also said they have found technical evidence that could link North Korea with the global WannaCry “ransomware” cyber attack that infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries this month. Pyongyang has called the allegation “ridiculous”.

2 September 2018

The Plan to End the Korean War


First Donald Trump called off his secretary of state’s planned trip to North Korea this week. Then Defense Secretary James Mattis suggested on Tuesday that the U.S. might no longer suspend military exercises the North Koreans view as provocative. It’s starting to look like nuclear talks are grinding to a standstill, and a top adviser to South Korea’s president has provided the most detailed description yet of one of the key sticking points: a declaration to end the Korean War. This is not the same thing as peace. But it is a step in that direction. The Korean War never really ended; the fighting just stopped with a truce in the form of the 1953 Armistice Agreement, which has governed the Korean conflict ever since. What the South Korean government has been advocating for is a political statement that the war is over, which would serve as a kind of bridge between the chronic hostility of the past and a permanent peace in the future.

30 August 2018

How Will ‘Defense Reform 2.0’ Change South Korea’s Defense?

By Sungyoung Jang

On July 27, South Korea’s Defense Minister Song Young-moo briefed President Moon Jae-in on “Defense Reform 2.0,” an expansive initiative to restructure and modernize Korea’s defense. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) has released seven proposals on specific agendas, most recently announcing plans to renovate military housing and facilities on August 16. The government is highly invested in military reform, but the array of modernization plans and restructuring raises questions about its financial feasibility and efficacy in improving Korea’s defense posture.

25 August 2018

How Far Can South Korea's Indigenous Defense Industry Go?

By Robert Farley

A recent Jane’s Defence Weekly profile by Jon Grevatt investigated the ROK’s defense industry in depth. From a low base in the late 1960s, South Korea has progressively developed a sophisticated, productive arms industry to serve its own forces and, increasingly, the export market. South Korean exports have steadily increased since the early 2000s, and now cover a range of high-technology weapons systems delivered to customers around the world. But there are risks on the horizon.

24 August 2018

Assessment of the North Korean Cyberattack on Sony Pictures

Summary: The 2014 North Korean cyberattack on Sony Pictures shocked the world into realizing that a North Korean cyber threat truly existed. Prior to 2014, what little information existed on North Korea’s cyber capabilities was largely dismissed, citing poor domestic conditions as rationale for cyber ineptitude. However, the impressive nature of the Sony attack was instrumental in changing global understanding of Kim Jong-un and his regime’s daring nature. Text: On November 24, 2014 Sony employees discovered a massive cyber breach after an image of a red skull appeared on computer screens company-wide, displaying a warning that threatened to reveal the company’s secrets. That same day, more than 7,000 employees turned on their computers to find gruesome images of the severed head of Sony’s chief executive, Michael Lynton[1]. These discoveries forced the company to shut down all computer systems, including those in international offices, until the incident was further investigated. What was first deemed nothing more than a nuisance was later revealed as a breach of international proportions. Since this incident, the world has noted the increasing prevalence of large-scale digital attacks and the dangers they pose to both private and public sector entities.

17 August 2018

How the U.S. Helped Prevent North Korea and South Korea From Reaching Real Peace in the 1950s


In the long history of Korea, nothing compares to the 20th century division of the peninsula or the war that followed. That war has not finished, and a peace treaty remains elusive. China, North Korea and South Korea all seek a peace treaty, but 11 U.S. presidents since 1953 have been unwilling to agree. If President Trump turns out to be the exception, that shift could help put an end to more than a half-century of conflict — and the role of the United States in determining whether peace arrives is not a small one. Neither is it coincidental: in fact, the U.S. has played a key role in keeping the conflict going as long as it has. The division of Korea is not what Franklin Delano Roosevelt intended as World War II ended. As President, he had discussed with British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin an “international trusteeship” of Korea that would help bring the country out of Japanese colonial rule and restore its sovereignty. But Roosevelt died in April 1945 and President Truman had different priorities. The change of thinking by the Truman administration led to a change of direction that altered the course of history in northeast Asia.

9 August 2018

After Iran and North Korea; Now Hold Pakistan’s Feet to the Fire

by Francesca Silvestri

Over the past year, nuclear non-proliferation diplomacy has succumbed to divergent pressures, including: - global moves via the United Nations and led by the United States to halt North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons (and missile systems to deliver them) - multilateral disagreement over the best way frustrate Iran’s acquisition of the same things - American insouciance about nuclear proliferation in South Asia, which many nuclear weapons specialists in the United States, UK and EU see as arguably the most dangerous of all proliferation hotspots The mutually inconsistent approaches outlined above reflect the erratic and, from a European viewpoint, incoherent and spasmodic interventions by President Donald Trump. These approaches include Trump’s ballyhooed summitry with Kim Jong-un, capturing the limelight (but apparently not much else). The current occupant of the White House has also pulled America out of the Joint Common Plan of Action (JCPOA) with which the International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran is compliant.

30 July 2018

Daily Memo: The Middle East Makes Waves, North Korea Walks Back, the US Talks Trade Truce

Threats to halt the flow of oil through Middle Eastern waterways are starting to feel more like promises. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia suspended oil shipments through part of the Red Sea after Houthi fighters attacked two tankers, one of which, they claim, was a Saudi warship. (The Houthis are Yemeni rebels that have fought, through the support of Iran, the Saudi-aligned government in the capital of Sanaa.) In coded language, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, appeared to confirm the attack, saying the presence of U.S. forces in the Red Sea is what led to the attacks. The same day, the U.S., Egypt and Gulf states began demining exercises in the Red Sea – these kinds of exercises would immediately be put to use in the event of an oil blockade.

29 July 2018

Kim Jong Un’s Long Game

By Duyeon Kim
Source Link

Welcome to North Korean Negotiations 101. North Korea’s reaction to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to Pyongyang was expected and does not signal the end of the diplomatic process; it just shows us it will be a long and difficult one. On top of dealing with North Korean-style negotiations, President Donald Trump already made important concessions too soon before concrete North Korean denuclearization steps while Kim is playing a long game, looking 40 to 50 years down the road. Trump, on the other hand, seems to be focused on the next 2.5 years, until the next US presidential election in 2020.

25 July 2018

North Korea: We Asked 9 of the World’s Leading Experts What Happens Next

by Mitchell Blatt 

After a heavily choreographed summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12, 2018, talks between the two countries appear to have hit roadblocks one month later. Kim refused to meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he visited North Korea in early July, and North Korea accused the American side of having a “gangster-like mindset.” On July 12, North Korean officials didn’t show up at a scheduled meeting at the DMZ to discuss returning the remains of U.S. troops. However, the meeting took place on Sunday, July 15 instead.

11 July 2018

North Korea Declares U.S. Diplomacy “Gangster-Like”

By Robin Wright

The first sign that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang wasn’t going quite as expected came in a casual but pointed question from the lead North Korean negotiator on Saturday morning. Had the Secretary slept well? Kim Yong Chol wanted to know. “I did, I did,” Pompeo replied, adding his gratitude for the accommodations at a government guesthouse. As a pool of American reporters looked on, the North Korean shot back, “But we did have very serious discussions on very important matters yesterday. So, thinking about those discussions, you might have not slept well last night.” Pompeo replied that he had “slept just fine.” The American reporters noted an edge in his voice, however.

Lessons Learned From 25 Years of Negotiating with North Korea

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is resetting expectations for a denuclearization timeline for North Korea, saying Monday that it will take ‘decades’ to get North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program. 

In a Tweet on Monday, President Donald Trump reaffirmed his confidence in the North Korean leader, saying that he believes Kim Jung Un will keep his promises.

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is one of the few people who has decades of experience negotiating with North Korean leaders. The former Director of the Counterproliferation Center and Former Special Envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea filed this Cipher Brief, focused on what he has learned from those years of experience:

10 July 2018

Breaking News: North Korea reveals that two days of nuclear talks with SecState Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang did not go well

Gardiner Harris and Choe Sang-Hun 

PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea accused the Trump administration on Saturday of pushing a “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization” and called it “deeply regrettable,” hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his two days of talks in the North Korean capital were “productive.” Despite North Korea’s criticism, its Foreign Ministry said leader Kim Jong-un still wanted to build on the “friendly relationship and trust” forged with President Trump during their summit meeting in Singapore on June 12. The ministry also said Mr. Kim had written a personal letter to Mr. Trump, which was handed to Mr. Pompeo to deliver.