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  • Commentary posted May 31, 2016 by Bruce Klingner The Atomic Bomb Averted Even Larger Tragedies

    Visiting the National World War II Memorial in Washington is a sobering experience. The cascade of gold stars adorning the walls are a heart-rending depiction of the 400,000 American service members who died in both the Pacific and European theaters of war. Each of the 4,048 stars represents 100 American deaths – sons, fathers and brothers who never came home. Imagine…

  • Commentary posted May 27, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Hiroshima Quest is Naïve

    In 2009, President Obama articulated his dream for a world free of nuclear weapons. But reality intruded on his utopian vision that day when North Korea launched a long-range missile designed to target the United States with nuclear weapons. Since then, Pyongyang has continued to augment its nuclear arsenal. As the end of his presidency approaches, Obama seeks to…

  • Commentary posted May 11, 2016 by Bruce Klingner North Korea Party Congress: Much Ado About Nothing

    When Kim Jong-un convened a rare Korea Workers’ Party (KWP) Congress on May 6, – the first in 36 years and only the 7th in North Korean history – it generated speculation of sweeping policy changes. But the Congress produced no historic reform, only a disappointing, crickets-chirping ennui. The Party Congress emphasized pageantry over policy change, rubber stamp over…

  • Commentary posted May 2, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Lame Duck President or Parliament?

    Prior to the National Assembly election, President Park Geun-hye complained of a “vegetative legislature” that was unable to pass bills. In Japan, they refer to a “twisted Diet” when two different parties control each of the two houses of parliament, creating gridlock. Yet, in South Korea, the same party had controlled both the unicameral legislature and the presidency…

  • Commentary posted March 31, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Allied Coordination Needed to Counter North Korea

    North Korea is easy to ridicule. Its portly, rhomboid-haired leader looks like an Austin Powers villain. His over-the-top, bombastic threats sound like Soviet propaganda on steroids. Nighttime satellite photography suggests it can't even power a light bulb. No wonder it's been routinely dismissed as not posing a threat for "at least several more years." Despite the…

  • Backgrounder posted March 28, 2016 by Justin T. Johnson, Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D., James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Dean Cheng, Luke Coffey, Lisa Curtis, Michaela Dodge, David Inserra, Bruce Klingner, Walter Lohman, James Phillips, Ana Quintana, Bryan Riley, Brian Slattery, Charles "Cully" Stimson, Dakota Wood, Rachel Zissimos The 2017 NDAA Should Begin Rebuilding America’s Military

    The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is an annual bill that sets policies and budgets for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). This bill and the defense appropriations bill are Congress’s two annual major pieces of defense legislation. With the release of the Obama Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget request, Congress has begun working on the NDAA.…

  • Commentary posted March 11, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Showing More Resolve on North Korea

    For years, North Korea has violated U.S. law and U.N. resolutions. Among its many infractions, it has continued its prohibited nuclear and missile programs; committed gross human rights violations; counterfeited U.S. currency and indulged in repeated acts of terrorism and acts of war. Yet the United States has only half-heartedly addressed these violations. For example,…

  • Commentary posted February 26, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Dear President Obama: It's Time to Confront the North Korea Question

    North Korea’s recent nuclear and missile tests have certainly shocked the world and triggered a cascade of stern responses. South Korean President Park Geun-hye stood up to Chinese pressure and economic blackmail by moving forward to improve her country’s defenses by deploying important American missile defenses—Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or what is commonly…

  • Commentary posted February 9, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Look Out, America: North Korea Can Hit the U.S. With Nukes

    North Korea has again successfully put a satellite into orbit, demonstrating the same technology needed to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and showing that its long-range missile program is becoming increasingly reliable. In 2015, the commanders of U.S. Forces Korea, Pacific Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) publicly…

  • Commentary posted February 7, 2016 by Bruce Klingner North Korea's Missile Launch Threat Raises the Stakes

    North Korea recently announced it will launch a long-range missile sometime this month, perhaps as soon as February 8. The regime claims the payload will be merely a civilian “earth observation satellite.” Even if true, United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions specifically preclude Pyongyang from “any further launches that use ballistic missile technology.” Both…

  • Testimony posted January 13, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Moving Beyond Timid Incrementalism: Time to Fully Implement U.S. Laws on North Korea

    Testimony before Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the Foreign Affairs Committee United States House of Representatives “The U.S. Response to North Korea’s Nuclear Provocations” January 13, 2016 My name is Bruce Klingner. I am the Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not…

  • Commentary posted January 13, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Nuclear Test Raises Peninsular Tensions

    North Korea announced on Dec. 4 that it conducted a successful hydrogen bomb nuclear test of a miniaturized warhead. Nuclear experts remain uncertain of the type of nuclear weapon tested and its explosive yield but agree that North Korea did conduct its fourth nuclear test. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un asserted last month that his country had built a hydrogen nuclear…

  • Backgrounder posted January 12, 2016 by Olivia Enos, Bruce Klingner Next Steps for Human Rights in North Korea

    After the release of the report of the United Nations commission of inquiry on human rights in North Korea (COI) in February 2014, the world can no longer deny the severity of Pyongyang’s human rights crisis. The horrific tales of abuse and sheer magnitude of “systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights” led the U.N. to conclude that North Korea was guilty…

  • Backgrounder posted January 11, 2016 by Bruce Klingner Japanese Defense Reform Supports Allied Security Objectives

    In September 2015, Japan passed defense reform legislation that enables it to play a more comprehensive role in responding to global security challenges. Japan’s reforms replace archaic restrictions on its forces that precluded Tokyo from assuming a role commensurate with its capabilities, resources, national interests, and international responsibilities. The legislation…

  • Issue Brief posted January 6, 2016 by Bruce Klingner North Korea Claims Successful H-Bomb Nuclear Test

    North Korea announced on January 4 that it had conducted a successful H-bomb nuclear test of a miniaturized warhead.[1] Prior to the announcement, sensors had detected a 5.1 magnitude seismic event at the same approximate location as North Korea’s 2013 nuclear test. Nuclear experts are continuing to analyze the data, but preliminary assessments are that North Korea did…