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  • Lecture posted October 16, 2006 by Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D. The U.S.-Korea Alliance on the Rocks: Shaken, Not Stirred

    The question I was asked to address is whether the U.S.-ROK alliance is at risk. The short answer is "yes," but the reasons why and the ensuing prescriptions are far from simple. Thus, for the sake of efficiency and clarity, I will begin with my conclusion and then pro­vide an explanation: The maintenance of a strong U.S.- ROK alliance is absolutely in the short-, …

  • WebMemo posted June 20, 2006 by Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D. A North Korean Missile Test: Implications for the U.S. and theRegion

    According to international intelligence reports, for the last five weeks, North Korea has been steadily moving towards a test launch of the Taepodong 2, an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range up to 6,000 kilometers - enough to reach Alaska. Satellite intelligence reveals that Pyongyang has loaded booster rockets onto a launch pad in Musuduan-ri, in…

  • WebMemo posted June 15, 2006 by Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D. Round One of the U.S.-ROK FTA Talks Sails Through

    The United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) took an important step forward last week to strengthen their ties and promote prosperity in the two nations. The successful completion of the first round of negotiations for the US-ROK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) marks the beginning of a process that could culminate in the largest U.S. trade deal since the North…

  • WebMemo posted June 2, 2006 by Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D. Local Elections in the ROK: What It Means for the U.S.

    In nationwide local elections held on May 31 in South Korea, the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) achieved an overwhelming victory. It won 11 of 16 provincial governor and major city mayor seats, including Seoul's, by a large margin. The ruling Uri Party's resounding defeat is a setback for President Roh Moo Hyun who has been struggling with low approval…

  • Executive Memorandum posted March 2, 2006 by Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D. A Bumpy Road for the U.S.-ROK Free Trade Agreement

    After much anticipation, the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea) announced on February 4 the commencement of preliminary negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA). This announcement was her­alded on both sides of the Pacific as a milestone in elevating the relationship between the two allies to a new level. An FTA with South…

  • WebMemo posted November 15, 2005 by Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D. Bush's APEC Trip: Strengthening Ties in Asia

    President George W. Bush travels to Asia this week to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit in Busan, South Korea. His attendance at APEC and his visits to Japan, China, and Mongolia are an important statement of U.S. foreign policy priorities and goals in the Asia-Pacific region. At a time when U.S. and global attention appears…

  • Commentary posted September 22, 2005 by Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D. Nuclear Agreement Marks A Victory For the U.S.

    "Here we go again," is the reaction from critics who view with skepticism the joint agreement reached in Beijing on Monday, at the conclusion of the fourth round of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programs. They are right to be worried about any new deal that echoes the mistakes the U.S. made in the Agreed Framework a decade ago in 1994, when the first…

  • WebMemo posted September 21, 2005 by Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D. Cautious Optimism for the Six-Party Talks

    The fourth round of the six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons programs finally concluded in Beijing on September 19th with a Joint Statement adopted by all the parties. While supporters and critics alike will be tempted to begin their congratulations and recriminations now, temperance, combined with cautious optimism for the future of the…

  • WebMemo posted September 15, 2005 by Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D. Going Postal in Japan: A Mandate for Reform

    On September 11, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won a landslide victory in general elections, creating the largest LDP majority in the Lower House since 1986. Japan's Upper House had rejected Koizumi's proposal to privatize the postal office, including its saving and insurance systems, precipitating this early…

  • Backgrounder posted July 25, 2005 by Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D. Including South Korea in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program

    Most Americans would be surprised to learn that one of the most troublesome issues for South Korean citizens with the United States is not growing tensions about North Korea's illicit nuclear weapons program, but that the Republic of Korea (ROK) is not included in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The VWP allows nationals from member countries to enter the United…

  • WebMemo posted July 22, 2005 by Baker Spring, Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D. U.S. Strategy For the Six-Party Talks

    After a 13-month boycott, North Korea has finally agreed to return to the Six-Party Talks, which will resume on July 25th in Beijing. First convened in September 2003, the Talks, which bring together the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, and Russia, have completed three sessions so far without finding a diplomatic solution to North Korea's…

  • WebMemo posted July 8, 2005 by Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D. Rice's Trip to Asia: Seeking Coordination on North Korea

    On July 8, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will depart for a five-day whirlwind trip through China, Thailand, South Korea, and Japan. During her visits to the three Northeast Asian capitals, Rice will likely seek to improve coordination before the Six-Party Talks to resolve North Korea's nuclear situation resume, most likely sometime in the next month. This is…

  • Backgrounder posted July 7, 2005 by Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D. Japan's New Security Outlook: Implications for the United States

    Japan has recently begun a process to transform its security strategy and envision a new role for itself that accepts larger regional and global responsibilities, a bold change from its insular self-defense security pos­ture of the past half-century. Security cooperation and strategic coordination on a variety of issues-includ­ing North Korea, the Taiwan Strait,…

  • WebMemo posted June 8, 2005 by Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D. The Bush-Roh Summit: Building a Common Foundation for the U.S.-ROK Alliance

    On June 10, Seoul and Washington's attention will focus on the White House as President Roh Moo-hyun of South Korea arrives to meet with President George W. Bush for their second summit. Attention is likely to be just as focused in Beijing, Tokyo, Moscow, and Pyongyang because of the issue at the top of Roh's agenda: reviving the stalled six-party process on the…

  • Backgrounder posted May 18, 2005 by Balbina Y. Hwang, Ph.D., Anthony B. Kim Beyond the U.S.-South Korea Alliance: Reinvigorating EconomicRelations

    Recently, increasing anxiety about the future of the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance has raised con­cerns in both Washington and Seoul. Yet the two allies have more in common today than ever before in a relationship that has endured for more than 50 years. This includes shared values of open markets, free trade, respect for the rule of law, and demo­cratic…