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Korea Update September 2016: THAAD, the U.S.-Korea Alliance, and Security in Asia

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Korea Update September 2016: THAAD, the U.S.-Korea Alliance, and Security in Asia

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China’s Limited Options Against the THAAD Deployment

The Chinese government has once again threatened retaliation against South Korea. The threats followed the July 8 U.S.-South Korea announcement that the alliance will deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea in response to North Korea’s growing missile threats. Despite its blustering rhetoric, however, China cannot punish South Korea without damaging its own economic and strategic interests on the Korean peninsula, writes Scott A. Snyder, senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the U.S.-Korea Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Read more on Asia Unbound »

Parsing Presidential Candidates’ Policy Approaches

Whether it is Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office, the next U.S. president will inherit a complex set of global challenges on multiple fronts, including security and the economy. In an interview with the Arirang News, Snyder gives his take on the two candidates’ approaches to foreign policy. Watch the interview on »

Inside North Korea

On an episode of the Perth USAsia Center podcast, Snyder reflects on his many trips to North Korea. He warns that North Korea’s advancing missile and nuclear capabilities could create a dangerous crisis for the next U.S. president. He also discusses his experience with a nongovernmental organization in North Korea and analyzes South Korea’s relations with China and the United States. Listen to the event on »

The Rebalance to Asia and South Korea’s Middle-Power Diplomacy

Snyder authored a chapter on the U.S. rebalance to Asia and South Korea’s middle-power diplomacy in the new book Transforming Global Governance with Middle Power Diplomacy: South Korea’s Role in the 21st Century, edited by the East Asia Institute President Sook Jong Lee. Purchase the book on »

Unification, Japan-South Korea Relations, and Middle-Power Diplomacy

From May 25 to 27, Snyder participated in the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity and discussed Korean unification, Japan-South Korea relations, and middle-power diplomacy. Read the event summary on »


Tweaking and Tinkering Will Not Fix Japan’s Democracy

No one could be happier than Shinzo Abe that Sunday’s upper house election gave power to lawmakers open to revising Japan’s constitution. But throwing off the constraints that followed military defeat and occupation, long an ambition of the prime minister, will be far less important than building a firm foundation for the nation’s future, writes Sheila A. Smith, senior fellow for Japan Studies at CFR. Read more on Financial Times »

Japan’s New Realism

Seven decades after the end of World War II, Japan is once again becoming a military player of some significance in Asia, as well as a political force. Yet, unlike during the 1930s when ultranationalism propelled Japan onto a disastrous path of invasion and war, today the country is shedding old restraints to strengthen and defend the open, liberal system that has enriched Asia and led to decades of general stability. In a world where resurgent authoritarian powers threaten global peace, Japan’s new realism will help shape the next decade in the Pacific and ensure that no one power dominates Asia, writes Michael Auslin, resident scholar and director of Japan studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Read more on Foreign Affairs »


Media Mentions

Christian Science Monitor: “Will North Korean Missile Tests Help to Unify Asia?” (August 24, 2016)

New York Times: “North Korean Missile Test Brings Temporary Unity in East Asia” (August 24, 2016)

Washington Post: “U.S. Policy on North Korea Relies on China – and Provokes It at the Same Time” (August 23, 2016)

Seoul Shinmun (Korean): “China’s THAAD Objection Thwarts UNSC Condemnation Against North Korea” (August 10, 2016)

Yonhap: “China Cannot Punish S. Korea Over THAAD Without Hurting Own Interests: U.S. Expert” (August 10, 2016)

YTN (Korean): “U.S. Expert: China’s Retaliation Over THAAD Hurts Own Strategic Interests” (August 10, 2016)

Korea Times: “How to Resolve THAAD Dispute With China” (August 9, 2016)

Voice of America (Korean): “U.S. Experts: There Won’t Be Fundamental Changes in China-ROK Relations Despite China’s Pressure on THAAD” (August 9, 2016)

YTN (Korean): “U.S. Expert: China’s Retaliation Over THAAD Is Limited” (August 9, 2016)

Korea Times: “Trump Bump” (July 27, 2016)

Chicago Tribune: “North Korea Just Cut Its Last Diplomatic Channel to the U.S.” (July 11, 2016)

Seoul Shinmum (Korean): “[Post Brexit Shock] [4] Waning American Leadership in Security” (June 28, 2016)

Chosun Ilbo (Korean): “EU Without the UK… Blow to American Leadership in Global Security” (June 27, 2016)

Yonhap (Korean): “Blow in International Order Before and After Brexit… Concerns Over Weaker U.S. Leadership ‘Without the UK’” (June 25, 2016)

Korea Times: “China May Boycott Trilateral Meeting with Korea, Japan” (June 24, 2016)

Ohmy News (Korean): “Park Sunwon: North Korea’s Musudan, Intended to Deploy Nuclear Missiles to Threat the U.S.” (June 23, 2016)

Korea Times: “Clinton and North Korea” (June 15, 2016)

SBS (Korean): “[World Report] [Exclusive Interview] Korea Experts in American ‘Fifth Estate’ Think Tanks” (June 8, 2016)

Voice of America (Korean): “U.S. Experts: Peace Treaty Between the U.S. and North Korea Will Only Create War-Like Environment” (May 21, 2016)

Newsis (Korean): “‘North Korea Insists on Keeping Nuclear Weapons, and International Community Faces 4 Challenges’ Says Snyder, American Research Fellow ” (May 19, 2016)

CNN: “Can Kim Fix North Korea’s Economy?” (May 14, 2016)

Voice of America (Korean): “U.S. Experts: At North Korea’s Seventh Party Congress, Kim Jong Un Solely Focused on Consolidating Legitimacy” (May 10, 2016)

Yonhap (Korean): “[Party Congress in North Korea] Foreign Media Focuses on ‘Nuclear – Economy’ Byungjin Policy… Says ‘Bound to Fail Due to Sanctions’” (May 7, 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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