USKI’s Joel Wit and Jenny Town published an article on ForeignPolicy.com discussing what the successful North Korean rocket launch means for US foreign policy towards the DPRK. The Obama administration now faces the choice of how his record on North Korea will be remembered: a hard problem more or less contained or a rogue state armed with dozens of nuclear weapons well on its way to threatening the US. Obama’s second term is a second chance to tackle this important foreign policy issue. Is he up to the challenge?
Read the article “Launch This” at ForeignPolicy.com.
Joel Wit is a visiting scholar at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and founder of its North Korea website, 38 North. Jenny Town is a research associate at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and editor of 38 North.
While the North Koreans may have refrained from conducting a nuclear test and subsequent missile tests after their failed rocket launch in April 2012, recent satellite imagery shows that the North is still continuing development of their missile development and the launch pad at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (Tongchang-ri). USKI’s 38 North was the first to report on these developments, analyzing imagery from DigitalGlobe. According to 38 North analysts, the North has conducted liquid-fueled rocket engine tests at the Sohae facility as recently as September, and has continuing improvements to the Sohae launch pad. Full analysis and satellite imagery can be found here: http://38north.org/2012/11/sohae111212/.
Just after Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term as President of the United States and just a month before a hotly contested presidential race in South Korea, the developments at Sohae have reminded both candidates of why North Korea policy coordination in these new adminstrations is important and of the potential for provocations at the outset of the two Presidents’ terms.
While public attention has been focused on restarting denuclearization talks with North Korea, an important component of any renewed dialogue with Pyongyang will be controlling its ballistic missile program. That effort has been moving gradually but steadily ahead since the North ended its unilateral test moratorium in 2006 with the further development of threatening technologies, as well as the deployment of new models. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently highlighted the dangers posed by this effort during his January trip to Asia. He stated, “With the North Koreans’ continuing development of nuclear weapons and their development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, North Korea is becoming a direct threat to the United States, and we have to take that into account.” growing nuclear weapons stockpile and increasingly capable delivery systems will pose a serious danger to the region, and eventually perhaps even to the United States. In short, if the Six Party Talks resume, a high priority for the United States will be to also start negotiations that cover missiles.
The U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS is pleased to announce the release of the 2010 Edition of the SAIS U.S.-Korea Yearbook.
The Yearbook analyzes important developments in North and South Korea that characterized their relations in 2010. Each paper was written by a SAIS student from the course, “The Two Koreas: Contemporary Research and Record,” in the fall of 2010. Their insights were based on extensive reading and study as well as on numerous interviews conducted with government officials, scholars, NGO workers, academics and private sector experts both in Washington and Seoul.
On March 29, 2011, the U.S.-Korea Institute and SAIS and Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress cohosted a seminar entitled, “Leadership Matters: The U.S.-ROK Alliance in the Lead Up to 2012.” The Honorable Lee Jae-oh, South Korea’s Minister of Special Affairs and 4 time National Assemblyman delivered the keynote speech for this event, entitled “Global Leadership: A New Vision for the U.S.-ROK Alliance,” highlighting such key issues the KORUS FTA, coordination on North Korea policy, and his vision for creating a Northeast Asian Community of Peace and Prosperity.
On November 16, 2010, CSIS, KEI, and USKI hosted a discussion with Lael Brainard, Under Secretary of International Affairs from the U.S. Treasury. Brainard presented the main objectives behind the American economic growth agenda within the context of the G-20 Summit and how President Obama has invested his efforts in Asia, touching on platforms such as trade.