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North Korea: Witness to Transformation

Sources: Pacific Forum Issues and Insights

by | January 5th, 2014 | 10:37 am

The Pacific Forum follows the Asia-Pacific closely and provides timely analysis of the security environment in particular. One of their products is a monograph series consisting of online, edited collections around particular topics, most focused on the US relationship with China and key allies. Many of these works grow out of dialogues and thus reflect a variety of viewpoints from around the region. Here, we simply provide links to those that are of particular interest to those working on Northeast Asia, along with brief abstracts of each volume.


On the US-China Relationship


Building Toward a Stable and Cooperative Long-Term US-China Strategic Relationship

Issues & Insights Vol. 13 – No. 2

Edited by Lewis A. Dunn

The relationship between the United States and China will shape the 21st-century world. Building a stable and cooperative “win-win” strategic relationship – how their plans, doctrines, capabilities, postures, and actions interact across the nuclear offensive and defensive, outer space, and cyber realms – serves the interests of both countries.

While there are challenges, there are also important foundations for greater cooperation. Five areas stand out for possible future dialogue and action: 1) putting in place a robust and continuing set of exchanges and other types of official interaction between US and Chinese militaries and defense establishments; 2) establishing a process of mutual strategic reassurance to reduce misunderstandings and lessen mutual uncertainties; 3) conducting a joint study on the benefits and risks, possibilities and limits of transparency; 4) initiating dialogue between US and Chinese experts on arms control verification technology, practice, and experience as part of their overall commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and 5) conducting joint assessments of nonproliferation challenges.


Progress Continues, but Disagreements Remain: The Seventh China-US Dialogue on Strategic Nuclear Dynamics and the Inaugural China-US Dialogue on Space Security

Issues & Insights Vol. 13 – No. 6

By Ralph Cossa, Brad Glosserman, and David Santoro

Although they have slowly improved over the years, key disagreements persist in the US-China strategic relationship. To foster greater bilateral understanding between China and the United States and prepare for/support eventual official bilateral and/or multilateral official arms control talks, the Pacific Forum CSIS and the China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies held the Seventh China-US Dialogue on Strategic Nuclear Dynamics and the Inaugural China-US Dialogue on Space Security in Beijing, China on Jan. 28-29, 2013. Discussions focused on nuclear policies, current proliferation challenges, cross domain deterrence, crisis management, and prospects for bilateral cooperation, and space security. While some old themes stubbornly persist, they stimulated discussion about progress that has been made.


On the US-Japan Relationship


Moving Forward Together: The Future of the US-Japan Alliance

Issues & Insights Vol. 13 – No. 3

By J. Thomas Schieffer

In his address to the 19th annual Japan-US Security Seminar, J. Thomas Schieffer, former US ambassador to Japan, offered practical advice for advancing the US-Japan alliance. In this volume, a transcript of his remarks, he reviews the unstable nature of Japanese politics in recent years and notes the influence that a rotating stable of prime ministers and Cabinets has had on foreign relations, particularly with the US.

Schieffer also assessed Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s performance and policy stances, including his intent to build a relationship with the Obama administration, his position on the TPP, China and North Korea, and the “comfort women” issue.


Toward the Next “Strengthening” Agenda: The US-Japan Alliance in Search of a Vision

Issues & Insights Vol. 13 – No. 5

By Brad Glosserman and David Santoro

The US-Japan alliance remains strong and prospects are good, but uncertainties in Washington, Tokyo, and throughout East Asia pose formidable challenges for American and Japanese decision-makers on nuclear policy and broader security issues. In the sixth iteration of this US-Japan strategic dialogue, which took place in Maui, Hawaii on Feb. 7-8, 2013 discussions focused on the impact of the 2012 elections in both countries, compared assessments of China and North Korea, focused on ways to strengthen extended deterrence and modernize the alliance, and explored broadening the US-Japan alliance to engage third countries. (Japanese language version).


Innovate or Enervate: The Future of US-Japan Alliance Collaboration

Issues & Insights Vol. 13 – No. 8

By Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellows

In light of the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, the need for a strong Japan and a successful, well-managed US-Japan alliance is even greater. The alliance is ripe for innovation to develop new means of cooperation. For three years, Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellows have researched new ways to reinvigorate the relationship between the US and its most important regional security partner. In this volume, which evolved out of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellowship Conference that preceded the 19th annual US-Japan Security Seminar, SPF Fellows explore space and cybersecurity issues, the development of a biosecurity architecture, methane hydrate exploration, and other areas where the US and Japan can cooperate.


New Governments, Renewed Purpose: The 19th Japan-US Security Seminar

Issues & Insights Vol. 13 – No. 1

By Brad Glosserman

The Japan-US alliance confronts a challenging security landscape. North Korea continues to develop missile and nuclear capabilities, China is flexing its muscles, and even if Beijing doesn’t court a confrontation with other nations, the possibility of an accident, miscalculation, or mistakes makes that prospect real. Especially troubling is the friction between Japan and South Korea, two countries that should be cooperating to meet shared challenges and concerns. At the 19th Japan-US Security Seminar in San Francisco, two simple messages dominated the conversation: From the Americans to the Japanese, “Don’t go there!” in regards to sensitive historical issues. From the Japanese to the Americans: “Be consistent!” in regards to its security commitments in Northeast Asia.


On the US-South Korea Relationship


Testing Resolve: The US-ROK Alliance at a Crossroads

Issues & Insights Vol. 13 – No. 4

By Brad Glosserman and David Santoro

The election of Park Geun-hye, another conservative president, augured well for the US-ROK alliance. How this relationship will evolve in the face of the North Korean challenge and how it will manage relations with its neighbors, however, will only become clear over the next few years. The Fifth US-ROK Strategic Dialogue on Feb. 4-5, 2013 examined the impact of the 2012 elections in both countries on their relationships, the alliance, security perspectives, and attitudes regarding nuclear policy and reassurance; compared national assessments of China and North Korea; focused on ways to strengthen extended deterrence while assessing Korean and regional confidence in the US security umbrella; and examined the potential and limits of using the US-ROK alliance as a stepping stone to engage third countries, notably Japan. The dialogue enjoyed its usual candor, but ROK participants in some cases seemed hesitant to get too far out in front of the incoming Park government.  (Korean language version).


Building toward Trilateral Cooperation on Extended Deterrence in Northeast Asia

Issues & Insights Vol. 13 – No. 1

By David Santoro and Brad Glosserman

In collaboration with the ASAN Institute for Policy Studies, the Pacific Forum CSIS held the first US-ROK-Japan extended deterrence trilateral dialogue in Seoul, ROK on Sept. 2-3, 2013. The meeting examined and compared perspectives on extended deterrence and assurance, China and the balance of power in Asia, North Korea, and changes in national defense postures in the United States, the ROK, and Japan. While much work remains to be done in the US-ROK and US-Japan alliances to respond to the changing security environment, this dialogue initiates a process to reflect on how to enhance cooperation on extended deterrence and assurance at the trilateral level to further strengthen regional stability. (Japanese version, Korean version).




Doing More and Expecting Less: The Future of US Alliances in the Asia Pacific

Issues & Insights Vol. 13 – No. 1

Edited by Carl Baker and Brad Glosserman

When considering the future of its alliances in the Asia Pacific, the United States must recognize two things: first, its influence has diminished as Asia has acquired its own economic dynamism; second, its desire to privilege its alliances can diminish the roles for and prospects of other partners. Washington must acknowledge the suspicions that sometimes surround its alliances and lead to questions about their goal and purpose. This study shows that there is an urgent need to ensure that alliances are seen as part of the solution to security challenges in the region, and not an anachronism that holds back progress.

The study concludes: 1) the US should not oppose efforts to integrate Asia – attempts to forge Asian institutions respond to a perceived gap between the region’s economic and political influence; 2) the US should champion principles, rules, and institutions that its allies, partners, and other regional governments would want to support; 3) the US should be building an economy that nations wish to partner with; 4) the US should develop boilerplate agreements that it can sign with allies and that they, in turn, can sign with each other and with other regional governments; and 5) the US and its partners should always invite China to join security programs, projects, and initiatives.


Hanging Together: Improving Deterrence through ROK-Japan Cooperation

Issues & Insights Vol. 13 – No. 7

By Pacific Forum CSIS Young Leaders

A central component of the US rebalance to Asia was a call by President Obama for strengthened alliances. Sadly, animosity continues to hamper cooperation and progress between Washington’s two central allies in the region. Specifically, the inability of the ROK and Japan to improve diplomatic and military coordination undermines the ability of the US to provide credible extended deterrence – on which both ROK and Japan rely. The poor relationship also threatens the US ability to secure its own national interests and the global common good of free maritime navigation in Asian waters. Young Leaders, who met in Maui in February, highlighted two themes from the Track II dialogue: a desire to improve the utility of extended deterrence in preventing lower-level provocations and the increasing importance of the Japan-ROK relationship for maintaining and advancing regional security in Northeast Asia. Aware of the challenges involved in building closer ROK-Japan ties, Young Leaders provide pragmatic and actionable policy recommendations in a number of fields, including Arctic security and transportation infrastructure.


Rowing Together: A Chinese Perspective

Issues & Insights Vol. 13 – No. 9

By Ren Xiao

Although the relics of the Cold War linger throughout Northeast Asia, the sub-region cannot resist the trends of globalization and regionalization. This presents interesting challenges for China, North Korea’s closest neighbor and nominal ally. In this volume, Ren Xiao provides a Chinese perspective on North Korea, one of the region’s most enduring security challenges.


Workshop on Strategic Trade Controls

Issues & Insights Vol. 13 – No. 12

By Carl Baker and David Santoro

In partnership with National Chengchi University’s Institute of International Relations, the Pacific Forum CSIS held a workshop on strategic trade controls in Taipei, Taiwan on Aug. 28-29. The meeting focused on the strategic trade control regime, control lists, controls in transshipment and foreign trade zones, the relationship between UN Security Council resolutions and strategic trade control implementation, and the role of regional organizations in assisting and coordinating strategic trade control implementation. One key finding was that the EU control list is becoming the de facto standard for categorizing strategic goods and while the United States is relaxing its restrictive practices and streamlining processes, the rest of the world is slowly strengthening control and using EU control mechanisms as a benchmark.


Institutionalizing Nuclear Governance in the Asia Pacific

Issues & Insights Vol. 13 – No. 16

By David Santoro

The Nuclear Energy Experts Group (NEEG) of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) met in Da Lat, Vietnam on Nov. 11-12, 2013, under the auspices of the CSCAP Study Group on Countering the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Asia Pacific. The meeting focused on the nuclear safety and security regimes, the Nuclear Security Summit process, the Northeast Asian nuclear security centers of excellence, and the role of regional organizations to address nuclear safety and security. It initiated a process to reflect on how nuclear governance can be strengthened in the Asia Pacific.

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