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  • 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…

  • Commentary posted July 17, 2014 by Bruce Klingner Asia's Big Fear: Is America Emboldening China and North Korea?

    While world attention has focused on crises in Syria, Crimea and the Middle East, the security situation in Asia has deteriorated. As North Korea pursues another of its periodic charm offensives, it appears quiescent. Yet the regime continues to refine its nuclear strike capability. It is only a matter of time before Pyongyang resumes its escalatory, provocative behavior.…

  • Backgrounder posted June 3, 2014 by Bruce Klingner Allies Should Confront Imminent North Korean Nuclear Threat

    Experts predominantly assess that North Korea has developed several nuclear devices, but not yet mastered the ability to miniaturize a warhead or deliver it via missile. Media reports habitually declare that North Korean missiles cannot yet reach the United States. Based on this benign conclusion, policymakers presume the United States and its allies still have several…

  • Commentary posted May 12, 2014 by Dean Cheng The Odd Couple: China and North Korea

    Are Beijing and Pyongyang finally on the outs? Recent reports that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has not exported any crude oil to North Korea for the last three months certainly raise the possibility. But hopes of a rift have been dashed before. To assess the situation accurately, one must first understand Chinese security calculations about the Korean peninsula.…

  • Testimony posted April 2, 2014 by Bruce Klingner North Korea: Sanctions, Nuclear and Missile Threat

    Testimony before Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the Foreign Affairs Committee United States House of Representatives 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 be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage…

  • Issue Brief posted February 20, 2014 by Bruce Klingner U.S. Should Augment Sanctions After North Korean Crimes Against Humanity

    A United Nations Commission of Inquiry issued a damning condemnation of the North Korea government for “systemic, widespread, and gross violations of human rights.” The commission concluded that the human rights abuses were of such a monumental scale as to constitute crimes against humanity. The panel recommended referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for…

  • Commentary posted December 29, 2013 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. 'Black swans' to watch out for in 2014

    Americans will die on American soil in large numbers. So predicted the Hart-Rudman Commission seven months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. No commissioner felt good about it getting it right. But the purpose of identifying "black swan" events before they happen is to give our leaders a chance to prevent them. Here are some black swans that threaten to nest next…

  • Backgrounder posted November 4, 2013 by Bruce Klingner Time to Get North Korean Sanctions Right

    Responding to North Korea’s third nuclear test in 2013, President Barack Obama declared that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program was a “threat to the U.S. national security and to international peace and security.”[1] The U.N. Security Council similarly warned that North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats posed “a clear threat to international peace and security.”[2]…

  • 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…

  • Issue Brief posted July 22, 2013 by Bruce Klingner North Korean–Cuban Arms Shipment Shows Need to Tighten Sanctions

    Even by North Korean standards, the story was odd. To a world used to North Korean exports of weapons, the seizure of a North Korean ship carrying arms from Cuba was unique. Pyongyang’s attempted transshipment of antiquated weapons revealed much about the North Korean regime. First, Pyongyang clearly continues to violate multiple United Nations Security Council (UNSC)…

  • 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 22, 2013 by Mark B. Schneider Does North Korea Have a Missile-Deliverable Nuclear Weapon?

    A recent unclassified Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report, revealed by Congressman Doug Lamborn (R–CO) on April 11, 2013, stated, “DIA assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles.”[1] This is disturbing news. The North Korean regime is one of the most fanatic, paranoid, and militaristic…

  • 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 22, 2013 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Obama's Star Wars Regret

    As the confrontation with North Korea heated up, President Obama reversed course on one missile-defense decision, even as he proposed a defense budget that trimmed another half-billion dollars from the enterprise. This self-contradictory behavior on missile defense reflects the president’s ambivalence about a program that he doesn’t want, but knows he needs. As a…