Rocky Road: Facing North Korea through the U.S. and ROK Partnership

The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) has published a special report on “The Future of The U.S.-ROK Alliance: Change and Continuity in North Korea Policy”. A collection of essays, this report features both the U.S. perspective and the Korean perspective, providing a well-rounded approach to discussing the current situation and possible futures (including the collapse of the Kim Jong-un regime) in the Korean peninsula. Especially after this week’s confusion regarding the maneuvers of the U.S. aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson, NBR’s report is a breath of fresh air. As the foreword describes, even though the alliance between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States has traditionally been resilient, the recent U.S. election and the pending South Korean election in May have placed this relationship in a period of uncertainty. With so much more than just deterrence of North Korea at stake, U.S.-ROK cooperation, specifically during a period of change, is critical for the continuity of shared economic and military benefits.

From the U.S. perspective, the essays are as follows:

“The Trump Administration: Implications for the U.S.-ROK Alliance and Policy toward North Korea”

“U.S. Policy toward North Korea: Security and Human Rights Go Hand in Hand”

“Tightening the Economic Noose on the North Korean Regime”

“Avoiding Calamity: Preparing for a North Korean Collapse”

From the Korean perspective, the essays are as follows:

Change and Continuity in the U.S.-ROK Alliance and North Korea Policy”

“Recasting the North Korean Problem: The Nexus between Security and Human Rights”

“Improving the Effectiveness of Sanctions against North Korea”

“Charting the Path of Korean Unification amid the Changing Security Landscape in Northeast Asia”

While leadership in both countries undergoes transition, the existential threat of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal has not changed. The need for informed decision-making is clear, and indispensable if the U.S.-ROK alliance is to continue to flourish. Please note that NBR is providing this report at no charge until June 16, 2017.