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  • 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 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…

  • Special Report posted October 8, 2014 by Walter Lohman, Olivia Enos, John Fleming 2014 Asia Update: What’s at Stake for America

    Introduction Economy Political Security Introduction Often overlooked in the tumult of Washington’s foreign policy debates is the remarkable consistency of U.S. foreign and trade policies over time. This is due to one immutable factor: American national interests. When U.S. policy moves away from our national interest, not only does it cease to…

  • Commentary posted August 28, 2014 by Jim DeMint Tension between Korea-Japan is poison to Asia. U.S. Should Mediate.

    Editor’s Note: This news article was originally published in South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo Newspaper. The interview was conducted by JoongAng Ilbo Reporter, Jin Park. Boegum Choi, Asan Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, provided the summarized translation. The original article can be accessed here.   "We hope for a positive China-Korea relationship as the result of Korean…

  • Backgrounder posted August 7, 2014 by Bruce Klingner The U.S. and South Korea Should Focus on Improving Alliance Capabilities Rather Than the OPCON Transition

    If hostilities break out between North Korea and South Korea (ROK), the current agreement between Washington and Seoul would put all ROK forces under control of the bilateral Combined Forces Command (CFC), which is led by a U.S. general. During armistice,[1] the government of South Korea controls its military forces, while the U.S. controls all U.S. and international…

  • Issue Brief posted February 19, 2014 by Bruce Klingner Obama Needs to Send Strong Message to Allies During Asia Trip

    President Obama correctly decided—apparently after some deliberation—to include South Korea on the itinerary for his trip to Asia in April, thus avoiding straining relations with a key ally. Seoul and Tokyo are again embroiled in a flare-up of tensions over sensitive historical issues that risk undermining U.S. security interests in Asia. Had Obama traveled only to Japan,…

  • Special Report posted October 7, 2013 by Walter Lohman, John Fleming, Olivia Enos A New View of Asia: 24 Charts that Show What's at Stake for America

    The Asian Studies Center Introduction Geography Economic Stakes Political Stakes Security Challenges Introduction: A New View of America's "Near West" At The Heritage Foundation’s annual B. C. Lee Lecture this year, the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs summed up perfectly America’s destiny as regards Asia: It is America’s “Near…

  • Commentary posted August 19, 2013 by Bruce Klingner The Kaesong Trap

    South and North Korean negotiators reached a preliminary agreement last week to reopen the jointly run industrial zone in Kaesong. But their success against considerable odds raises several questions. Most fundamentally, why does Seoul want to return to Kaesong in the first place? The benefits lop-sidedly accrue to Pyongyang, providing a steady source of hard currency…

  • Backgrounder posted July 24, 2013 by Bruce Klingner Enhancing South Korean–U.S. Naval Capabilities Is Critical to American Interests

    South Korean President Park Geun-hye has pledged to reach out diplomatically to North Korea to establish a reciprocal trust-building process. She is willing to provide economic benefits to facilitate North Korean denuclearization and progress toward Korean unification. But Park always emphasizes that the most important pillar of her “trustpolitik” strategy is first to…

  • Commentary posted July 3, 2013 by Bruce Klingner President Park Should Persuade China on NK

    Trilateral meetings in Washington last week amongst U.S., South Korean, and Japanese officials affirmed there is no daylight whatsoever amongst the allies in their policy toward North Korea. Pyongyang has burned so many bridges over the years that now no ally is willing to re-engage before the regime proves through actions that it has changed its policy and behavior. The…

  • Lecture posted May 1, 2013 by Honorable Ed Royce The Enduring Legacy of America’s Commitment to Asia

    EDWIN J. FEULNER: I’m Ed Feulner. For the next 13 days, I am the president of The Heritage Foundation. I’m delighted to have with us this morning my successor as the new president of The Heritage Foundation, Senator Jim DeMint. Senator, we are very happy that you are able to join us this morning for our 16th annual B.C. Lee Lecture. It’s good to see so many friends…

  • Commentary posted April 30, 2013 by Bruce Klingner For South Korea, No Respect, No Kaesong

    It's time for South Korea to face facts: The Kaesong experiment has failed. The ideologically motivated joint business venture with North Korea known as the Kaesong industrial complex is not economically viable, nor has it achieved any of its political objectives. To protest recent sanctions against it, the North pulled its workers out this month and locked out workers…

  • Backgrounder posted April 11, 2013 by Bruce Klingner The U.S. Should Support New South Korean President’s Approach to North Korea

    In late February 2013, Park Geun-hye was inaugurated as the 11th President of South Korea. Park’s ascent comes at a critical juncture in the Republic’s history: Facing several formidable challenges—rising regional security threats, economic uncertainty, and growing pressure to address domestic income disparities—South Korea needs strong and decisive political leadership.…

  • Issue Brief posted April 8, 2013 by Bruce Klingner North Korean Threats: What Washington Should Do

    North Korea is easy to ridicule. The country is an anachronistic hangover from the Cold War, replete with cartoonish propaganda and over-the-top threats. Its leader could well play the villain in a James Bond or Austin Powers movie. Self-appointed ambassador Dennis Rodman’s visit affirmed the image of the reclusive regime as the ultimate reality show. As such, the…