Archive for 'North Korea'

Policy Alert: Trump’s Missile Strike in Syria Continues to Reverberate in Rising Powers

On April 12, 2017, the UN Security Council voted on a resolution which aimed to condemn the reported use of chemical weapons in northern Syria on April 4 and to demand that all parties provide speedy access to investigation. How did key rising powers react to the reported use to chemical weapons in Syria and the subsequent US intervention? Find out here.

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Policy Alert: Key Rising Powers Warily Take Note of the Trump-Xi Summit

xresizer.php,qsrc=,hwww.outlookindia.com,_public,_uploads,_gallery,_20170408,_Trump_20170408_600_855.jpg,aw=630.pagespeed.ic.SbPh7SMVjWPresident Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Ji Xinping met for the first time amidst an air of expectancy and great uncertainty last week. The US attack on a Syrian airbase as the two leaders were sitting down to dinner on April 6 however, overshadowed this summit with the world’s attention re-directed to American policy in Syria. How did key rising powers anticipate and react to the summit amidst the US attack on Syria? Find out here.

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RPI Research Database: A Valuable Tool for Scholars and Policymakers

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The Rising Powers Initiative (RPI) at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies is pleased to offer the RPI Research Database.

RPI is a multi-year, cross-national research effort that examines the role of domestic identities and foreign policy debates of aspiring powers in Asia and Eurasia. As part of our efforts to analyze and compare the foreign policy thinking in today’s rising powers, the Research Database is an edited bibliography of books and articles on targeted subjects that reflect our ongoing research.

Each entry contains an abstract or summary along with further information on how to access the resource. The database is compiled by our research staff and is frequently updated with articles and books from 1990 onwards with emphasis on the latest academic and policy publications.

Countries and regions included in the database:
  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • Southeast Asia and ASEAN
  • Taiwan
Topics and subjects included in the database:
  • Identity and foreign policy
  • Energy security, Asian security, and maritime security
  • Nuclear energy and nuclear proliferation
  • International political economy
  • U.S. foreign policy in Asia

The Research Database can be accessed here.

We hope that the Database is a useful tool for conducting research on rising powers in Asia and for keeping up to date on the latest relevant academic and policy publications.

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Nuclear Issues Center of Debate at Event on Korean Peninsula

A North Korean nuclear missile test in 2009. Source: KCNA/AFP/Getty)

A North Korean nuclear missile test in 2009. Source: KCNA/AFP/Getty)

A torrent of security, diplomatic, and economic challenges intersect on the Korea Peninsula to complicate debates on nuclear issues. While the threat posed by the North Korean nuclear arsenal looms over the region, experts at a recent conference co-hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Korea Economic Institute in Washington, D.C. suggested that an evolving security environment could open up new possibilities to alter the nuclear landscape.

The United States and South Korea are currently engaged in talks on the future of nuclear energy cooperation between the two allies. Park Jin, former Chairman of the Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Unification Committee in the South Korean National Assembly, urged Washington to allow Seoul to expand its civilian nuclear program despite concerns about how those activities may impact proliferation risks. According to Jin, decision-makers focus too often on North Korea and not on the needs of South Korea’s civilian nuclear program when discussing nuclear issues on the Korean peninsula. “Under these circumstances,” Jin said “the South Korean government’s desire to revise the nuclear cooperation agreement to allow civilian recycling of the spent nuclear fuel and to move toward uranium enrichment for civilian purposes in a very transparent manner is certainly a challenge.” Nevertheless, South Korea and the United States signed the last so-called “123 nuclear cooperation agreement” over four decades ago when South Korea was still an under-developed economy. Jin insisted today South Korea has become the fifth largest nuclear energy power in the world, and it is crucial that his country supplies nuclear fuel to its domestic reactors in a more stable manner. (more…)

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RPI Author Rajesh Rajagopalan Warns 21st Century Evolving into 20th Century Europe

asiaRajesh Rajagopalan, a participant in RPI’s Nuclear Debates in Asia and Worldviews of Aspiring Powers projects and professor in International Politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, wrote an op-ed for The Economic Times where he warned “great power politics in Asia today seems to resemble very much Europe a hundred years back” before the start of a series of world wars. Rajagopalan offers  five major pieces of evidence for this comparison: 1) changing and uncertain balance of power; 2) hyper-nationalism among emerging powers; 3) intensifying arms races; 4) general optimism both about the unlikelihood of war as about the prospects for victory; and 5) plenty of minor disputes that could provide the necessary spark.

He noted the presence of nuclear weapons in Asia is a significant difference compared to pre-WWI Europe: “Nuclear weapons are a new factor which induces at least some caution in how leaders behave. But on the other hand, this works only if both sides have them and many East Asian states, including Japan, do not. They are protected by Washington’s extended nuclear deterrent which makes Japan and others dependent on an increasingly fickle America.”

While the author does not conclude war in Asia is inevitable, he wrote that it will take both “prudent behavior” as well as “providence” to avoid conflict: (more…)

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Announcing the Launch of the Rising Powers Initiative Research Database

As part of the Rising Powers Initiative’s efforts to analyze and compare the foreign policy thinking in today’s rising powers, we are pleased to announce the launch of the RPI Research Database, a specialized bibliography of books and articles on targeted subjects that reflect the RPI’s ongoing researchEach entry contains an abstract or summary of the article or book. The Database has been compiled by our research staff and is frequently updated with articles and books from 1990 onwards, with emphasis on the latest academic and policy publications.

Countries and regions in the Database include:

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • Southeast Asia and ASEAN
  • Taiwan

Topics and subjects in the Database include:

  • Identity and foreign policy
  • Energy security, maritime security, and Asian security
  • Nuclear energy and nuclear proliferation
  • Regional  political economy
  • U.S. foreign policy in Asia

The Research Database can be accessed here. We hope that this interactive Database is a useful tool for conducting research on rising powers in Asia and for keeping up to date on the latest relevant academic and policy publications. We encourage you to share the Database as a resource with your colleagues, and welcome your feedback and suggestions.

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Nuclear Debates in Asia Digest: South Korea – New Government, Old Nuclear Debates

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once declared that “All politics is local.” While he may not have been thinking of nuclear weapons at the time he coined the phrase, debates over nuclear issues take on local characteristics within Asia.

The Rising Power Initiative’s “Nuclear Debates in Asia” project examines how several countries in Asia grapple with these topics at the domestic political and societal level. Positions on nuclear energy, national security, and nuclear nonproliferation are often linked as a wide range of viewpoints compete for prominence.

In this Nuclear Debates in Asia Digest, there is a prime example of this debate in South Korea and its newly sworn in government led by President Park Geun-hye. In her inaugural address on Monday, President Park proclaimed that “North Korea’s recent nuclear test is a challenge to the survival and future of the Korean people.” She had campaigned on a pledge to ease tensions with Pyongyang and encouraged the hermit kingdom to denuclearize the peninsula if it wished to escape “self-imposed isolation.”

Despite North Korea’s recent provocations, the Park Administration remains interested in denuclearization talks and continuing Seoul’s status as a non-nuclear weapon state. A few days before this ceremony, however, one of South Korea’s largest newspapers – The Korea JoongAng Daily – reported that members of President Park’s own party suggested the need for an indigenous nuclear weapons capability to counter threats from its northern neighbor. Representative Shim Jae-cheol of the Saenuri Party argued last week that the “only way to defend our survival would be to maintain a balance of terror that confronts nuclear with nuclear.” In June 2012, former party chairman and presidential candidate Chung Mong-joon called for a “comprehensive re-examination of our security policy” that should empower Seoul with “the capability to possess” a nuclear arsenal.

(more…)

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Asian Powers Expect South Korea’s New President to Improve Bilateral Relations

Last month, voters in South Korea elected Park Geun-Hye as their next president. Today’s post summarizes commentary in the South Korean press, as well as Japanese and Chinese expectations of how the new president will shape future bilateral relations. 

SOUTH KOREA

In South Korea, editorials urged President-elect Park Geun-Hye to focus on a variety of issues, reflecting conflicting interests on what direction the ROK should move towards.

  • “It is the wish for the country’s economic revival that gave Park a mandate” in the election, saidYonhap News Agency. “One of the important tasks now is to raise the country’s growth potential, which experts worry could dip below the 2 percent line in the coming 10 years.”
  • Another Yonhap editorial emphasized that “National unity should be the name of the game as we mark the new year. It would be no exaggeration that the country’s fate depends on whether it can overcome conflicts along ideological, regional, and generational lines and advance its national unity and harmony.”
  • Commentary was mixed on the direction of South Korea’s foreign policy. “Take charge of US-Korea relations,” urged an op-ed in the Joongang Daily. While Korea has made great strides on the global stage, the essay argued that Korea’s ability to elevate its standing with the US has been hampered by a lack of understanding of Washington’s subculture; an insufficient lobbying presence; and a persistent subservient attitude. (more…)
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Crisis on the Korean Peninsula: Views from China, Japan and Russia

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have flared up again since North Korea’s shelling of Yeonpyeong Island on November 23.  Here is a round-up of Chinese, Japanese and Russian views on this latest crisis:

CHINA

The Global Times, the official English newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, has been running daily editorials on the crisis:

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