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  • Commentary posted April 30, 2015 by Bruce Klingner Here's What the New U.S.-Japan Defense Pact Looks Like

    The United States and Japan announced their new Guidelines for Defense Cooperation on the eve of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Washington. The agreement institutes sweeping changes to the existing 1997 guidelines, enabling greater synergistic and integrated alliance security operations worldwide. The announcement marks a major accomplishment for the alliance and…

  • Commentary posted April 30, 2015 by Bruce Klingner Shinzo Abe’s High-Wire U.S. Visit

    History will be made on April 29. For the first time, a leader of Japan will address a joint meeting of Congress. Such recognition of a critical U.S. ally in Asia is long overdue. Japan’s phoenix-like rise from the devastation of war is a testament to the country’s policymakers and citizens. It has blossomed into a vibrant democracy and the world’s third largest economy.…

  • Commentary posted April 30, 2015 by Jim DeMint, Bruce Klingner The High-Wire Washington Visit of Japan's Prime Minister

    History will be made today. For the first time, a leader of Japan will address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress. Such recognition of a critical U.S. ally in Asia is long overdue. Japan's phoenix-like rise from the devastation of war is a testament to the country's policymakers and citizens. Japan has blossomed into a vibrant democracy and the world's third-largest…

  • Backgrounder posted April 20, 2015 by Bruce Klingner Respond Cautiously to North Korean Engagement Offers

    In what is now something of an annual rite on the Korean Peninsula, 2015 dawned with perceived signals of North Korea’s supposed desire to resurrect diplomatic ties with the United States and South Korea. Although these signals were met with predictions of another inter-Korean summit, Pyongyang’s offer to refrain from nuclear tests in return for a freeze on allied…

  • Commentary posted April 20, 2015 by Bruce Klingner The World's Greatest Nuclear Fear: Will Iran Pull a North Korea?

    The interim Iranian nuclear framework is a vague accord with significant shortcomings. Moreover, the ink had barely dried before Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei disputed the Obama administration’s depiction of what had been agreed to. Khamenei declared that all sanctions against Iran must be removed immediately upon signature of a final accord in three…

  • Issue Brief posted March 20, 2015 by Bruce Klingner The U.S. Needs to Respond to North Korea’s Latest Cyber Attack

    On March 17, Seoul accused Pyongyang of conducting a series of cyber attacks against South Korean nuclear facilities in December 2014.[1] South Korean prosecutors assert that North Korean hackers were responsible for repeated disclosures of information, including blueprints of South Korean nuclear reactors gleaned from cyber attacks, as well as threats to extort money and…

  • Issue Brief posted December 22, 2014 by David Inserra, Bruce Klingner Washington Must Respond to North Korean Cyber Bullying and Threats of Terror

    Over the past week, the hack of Sony Pictures has gone from an embarrassing cybersecurity incident to successful international terrorism and extortion by North Korea. Several yet-to-be-released films were stolen from Sony Pictures and circulated on the Internet. The hackers, who call themselves the “Guardians of Peace,” released private e-mails and the health records and…

  • Issue Brief posted November 24, 2014 by Bruce Klingner U.S. Election Should Energize Asia Policies

    The results of the midterm elections could reinvigorate U.S. policies toward Asia, which have suffered from a lack of resources and resolve. The new Congress will likely be more supportive of concluding free trade agreements, funding U.S. defense requirements, and imposing additional sanctions to leverage North Korean compliance with international agreements. That said,…

  • Commentary posted October 22, 2014 by Bruce Klingner Steadying Allied Defenses in Korea

    A quarter century after the Cold War ended everywhere else, North Korea is still going strong. Why, then, have the United States and South Korea been planning to weaken their military alliance through a flawed policy known as “OpCon transfer”? Bilateral negotiations in Washington this week are a good opportunity to shelve such plans indefinitely. Observers routinely…

  • Commentary posted October 15, 2014 by Bruce Klingner Power, Not Policy, Drives Pyongyang's Purge

    Despite being the “second most powerful man in North Korea,” Jang Song Taek has reportedly been purged from the leadership elite for the third time. Jang, Vice Chairman of the important National Defense Commission, ascended to the pinnacle of power after marrying the sister of previous leader Kim Jong Il. Although Jang returned to senior positions after his previous…

  • Commentary posted October 15, 2014 by Bruce Klingner North Korea's Young Kim There to Stay

    Kim Jong Un has further solidified his control over North Korea by reportedly purging his uncle Jang Sung-taek, Vice Chairman of the important Nation Defense Commission. Although Jang was often referred to as the "second most powerful man in North Korea," he may now been ousted from the leadership elite for the third time. He has twice returned to the inner circle of…

  • Commentary posted October 15, 2014 by Bruce Klingner Abe's Yasukuni Visit Imperils Allied Security Interests

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's trip to Yasukuni Shrine is a serious foreign policy mistake that threatens allied security interests in Asia. Although Abe expressed "severe remorse" for Japan's historic actions, he should have realized that the visit was needlessly provocative and would exacerbate already strained relations with the United States and South Korea. Abe's…

  • Commentary posted October 15, 2014 by Bruce Klingner North Korean Power Politics Get More Ruthless

    Pyongyang announced on December 12 the trial and execution of Jang Sung-taek, former vice chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission and uncle to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Although Kim has already purged hundreds of officials during his two year reign, Jang's ouster is highly unusual, even by North Korean standards. Jang is married to the sister of…

  • Commentary posted October 10, 2014 by Bruce Klingner Where in the World is Kim Jong Un?

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has not been seen in public for more than a month, generating speculation that his absence is due to failing health or political intrigue. Given the paucity of information, keeping track of Kim is tougher than winning at three-card monte, and the stakes are much higher: the potential instability of a nuclear-armed nation. After Kim's…

  • Commentary posted October 10, 2014 by Bruce Klingner North Korea's Deceptive Charm Offensive

    North Korea surprised everyone last weekend with its decision to send a senior delegation to the closing ceremonies of the Asian Games in South Korea. As recently as April, after all, Pyongyang threatened to incinerate Seoul, Tokyo and Washington with nuclear weapons. In the months since, North Korea has been relatively quiescent, content to issue daily diatribes against…