Distrust between the United States and China continues to grow in Northeast Asia. Among many contributing factors, the North Korea issue is one of the most important, as illustrated by the controversy over the possible deployment of the United States’ THAAD missile defense system in South Korea. Thus, resolving or mitigating the Korea problem, a significant goal in its own right to both the United States and China, is also essential to reducing U.S.-PRC (People's Republic of China) strategic distrust. China and the United States share long-term interests vis-à-vis the Korean peninsula.
Americans think of South Korea as one of the most pro-American of countries, but in fact many Koreans hold harsh and conspiratorial views of the United States. If not, why did a single U.S. military traffic accident in 2002 cause hundreds of thousands of Koreans to take to the streets for weeks, shredding and burning American flags, cursing the United States, and harassing Americans?
"Tailored Engagement" is a result of research and an earlier report by faculty members and researchers at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) at Stanford University. The authors, Gi-Wook Shin, the director the Shorenstein APARC; David Straub, the associate director of the Korea Program; and Joyce Lee, the research associate for the Korea Program, write that they "hope this study will serve as a useful reference for leaders and citizens of the Republic of Korea as well as contribute to the global discussion about how to ensure peace, security and prosperity in Northeast Asia."
Policy Parameters of Major Players
President Park's North Korea Policy
The Policy Context
Toward Tailored Engagement
Engaging North Korea
A summary of the report is also available in Korean.
Kim Jong-il once declared he would transform North Korea into a "great and powerful country" by 2012, apparently believing that nuclear weapons would compel the international community to engage on his terms. With no such prospect in sight, North Korea faces a multitude of intractable problems. Will North Koreans accept his son as their leader, and will he embrace new thinking to solve the country's problems? Why do North Korean leaders resist reform of an economic system that impoverishes the people? Can a country so dependent on outside help continue to defy the international community?
In Troubled Transition, leading international experts examine these dilemmas, offering new insights into how a troubled North Korea may evolve in light of the ways other command economies and totalitarian states--from the Soviet Union and East Germany to Vietnam and China--have transitioned.
The publication of Troubled Transition was made possible by the generosity of the Koret Foundation of San Francisco, CA.
Examination copies: Shorenstein APARC books are distributed by the Brookings Institution Press. You can obtain information on obtaining an examination copy at their website.
This report by scholars and policy experts at Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center is based in part on (1) their research for a Yonhap News Agency-sponsored symposium on Northeast Asia security in Seoul in early February, when they also held meetings with then-President Lee Myung-bak and President-elect Park Geun-hye and her chief foreign policy advisers, as well as with leading South Korean progressive intellectuals; and (2) a workshop on North Korea policy at Stanford University on February 14–15, supported by the Koret Foundation of San Francisco, which included top current and former U.S., South Korean, and UN officials and leading academic experts on the Korea problem.
The publication of "The North Korea Problem" was made possible by the generosity of the Koret Foundation of San Francisco, CA.
Why should Americans worry about South Korean security? The answer is clear: North Korea, and beyond. Most international attention to the North Korea problem has focused on U.S. policy, but South Korea's longterm role may in fact be more important. South Korea's security is vital to peace and stability, not only in Northeast Asia but also the wider world.
Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) and The Korea Society established the New Beginnings policy study group three years ago to enhance the United States’ important alliance with the Republic of Korea. Differences of approach toward North Korea had created significant tensions between the two governments in preceding years.
Between 2009 and 2010, major new developments in and around the Korean Peninsula profoundly affected the context of U.S.-South Korean relations. The global economy, led by Northeast Asia, began slowly to recover from the economic recession that followed the U.S. financial crisis. As China’s economy continued its dramatic development, East Asian countries strengthened the architecture of regional cooperation. The international community focused increasingly on multilateral problems such as climate change and environmental issues.
In these uncertain times, the new Obama administration has an important opportunity to transform our vitally important alliance with the Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea) into a broader and deeper regional and even global partnership. South Korean President Lee Myung- bak is committed to the concept, and he has four more years in office to work with President Obama on it. The South Korean public also feels considerable goodwill toward President Obama.
With the inauguration in February 2008 of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, The Korea Society and Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center launched a nonpartisan group of former senior U.S. government officials, scholars, and other American experts on Korea to explore how to revitalize the U.S. alliance with the Republic of Korea (ROK) after nearly a decade of strains and tensions.