Global Insider: South Korea and the Cheonan
Preliminary investigations suggest that a North Korean torpedo caused the sinking of South Korea’s naval ship, the Cheonan, late last month, killing 46 sailors. In an e-mail interview, Scott Snyder, director of the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy at the Asia Foundation and an adjunct fellow for Korean Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, assesses the potential significance. WPR: What are the possible responses we can expect from South Korea? Snyder: In its response to the sinking of the Cheonan thus far, the Lee administration has consistently attempted to internationalize its response by including American, Australian, and Swedish technical experts [...]
The last few months have witnessed a resurgence in expert chatter on the possible demise of Kim Jong Il’s rule in North Korea. Growing evidence of regime frailty has focused attention on potential scenarios of endgame dynamics, most of which feature some combination of Kim striking out against the West, and China being forced to step in to prevent the dreaded refugee flow north. But while the nuclear issue remains a driver of Western policy toward North Korea, China’s current focus seems less ideological than predatory. Like a mafia don “busting out” a victimized business partner, Beijing now seems mainly [...]
The government of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has adopted the catchphrase “Global Korea” to signify its desire to play a more assertive role as a contributor to the international community. The same aspiration is reflected in South Korea’s emerging approach to global security issues as reflected in its 2008 Defense White Paper (.pdf), which states that in addition to maintaining stability on the Korean peninsula and building the foundations for national security and prosperity, a core national security objective is “enhancing competence and status internationally.” This widening outlook is particularly striking to those who are accustomed to Korea’s longstanding [...]
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