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Korea Update May 2016: Kim Jong-un's Nuclear Sprint

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Korea Update May 2016: Kim Jong-un’s Nuclear Sprint

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Why North Korea Is an Urgent Threat for the Next U.S. President

The more vulnerable Kim Jong-un feels atop a weakening North Korea, the more he seeks a silver bullet to ensure the regime's survival. But the regime's need to generate instability to exert domestic political control guarantees that the young leader will never have enough nuclear weapons to achieve absolute security, writes Scott A. Snyder, senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the U.S.-Korea Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Read more on »

The U.S., Korea, and China Discuss North Korea’s Nuclear Stalemate

The Forum on Asia-Pacific Security of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP) hosted a meeting in New York on March 22 and 23. Scott Snyder summarizes the findings from the NCAFP’s first trilateral dialogue. Read more on »

The Future of the U.S. Rebalance to Asia

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter discussed U.S. policy in the Asia-Pacific region ahead of his upcoming trip to India and the Philippines. Watch the video or read the transcript on »


Overcoming the South Korea-Japan Values Gap

In light of recent developments between Japan and South Korea, such as the December 2015 agreement on comfort women, Brad Glosserman, executive director of CSIS Pacific Forum, and Scott Snyder reflect on the relationship between the two countries at the 2016 International Studies Association Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Other panelists include Mark Tokola, vice president of the Korea Economic Institute, Audrye Wong, PhD candidate at Princeton University, Gilbert Rozman, emeritus professor at Princeton University, and Kan Kimura, professor at Kobe University. Watch the event on »

A Relationship on the Mend

President Barack Obama once again brought together President Park Geun-hye and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a trilateral summit on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit. Although the United States has facilitated some of the improvement in the relationship between South Korea and Japan, ultimately it was North Korea’s provocations that brought the two U.S. allies back to the table. Whether this trilateral can be bolder and more resilient in the future remains to be seen, writes Sheila A. Smith, senior fellow for Japan Studies at CFR. Read more on Asia Unbound »


Expect More Surprises in South Korea’s Elections

South Korea’s April National Assembly electoral results delivered a stunning defeat for the ruling Saenuri party and its major standard-bearers. The table is now set for an outsider candidate to win the upcoming 2017 presidential election, writes Scott Snyder. Read more on Asia Unbound »

Reevaluating Japan’s Energy Choices After Fukushima

For more than four decades, Japan has sought to create one of the world’s most advanced commercial nuclear industries, a policy that has continued after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Yet, a traumatic event like Fukushima provides policymakers with the chance to reexamine previous choices, writes Daniel P. Aldrich, professor of political science and public policy and codirector of Northeastern University’s security and resilience studies program. Read more on Asia Unbound »


Yonhap (Korean): “U.S. Expert: The North Korean Nuclear Threat Is the Next President’s Urgent Priority” (April 27, 2016)

Daily Caller: “North Korea Poised to Bluff the World Once Again With Nuke Tests” (April 18, 2016)

Cavalier Daily:How a Banner Got Warmbier Fifteen Years” (April 13, 2016)

Washington Times: China Backs North Korea Punishment but Won’t Abandon Unruly Ally, Analysts Say” (March 31, 2016)

Washington Diplomat: “North Korea Continues to Bedevil U.S. Policymakers” (March 31, 2016)

Yonhap (Korean): “Chinese Opposition to THAAD Due to Concerns about Encirclement by U.S. Missile Defenses” (March 31, 2016)


The program on U.S.-Korea policy was established at the Council on Foreign Relations in September 2011. It aims to strengthen the U.S.-Korea relationship by providing relevant policy recommendations and promoting dialogue on sensitive bilateral, regional, and global issues facing the two countries. The program acknowledges the generous support it has received from the Smith Richardson Foundation, Korea Foundation, and the South Korean private sponsor, Korea International Trade Association. It also acknowledges with thanks additional support received from individual donor Sandor Hau.

Scott A. Snyder, Director

Sungtae "Jacky" Park, Research Associate

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