Issues & Insights Vol. 20, CR 2 – Far, Far More Than Meets the Eye: Extended Deterrence in Complex Crises in Northeast Asia

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This publication results from research sponsored by the Department of the Air Force, United States Air Force Academy. This material is based on research sponsored by the USAFA and the Pacific Forum International, under agreement number FA7000-19-2-0016. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Governmental purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation thereon.

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Issues & Insights Vol. 19, WP 15 – National Models for Managing Trade of Strategic Goods

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The largest country in mainland Southeast Asia with a population of 53 million and located strategically between China and India, Myanmar plays a significant role geographically, economically and politically in the most rapidly advancing region in the world. As Myanmar opens up, investment and trade have grown significantly. Trade policies have been, and continue to be, revised in line with regional and global commitments and in accordance with liberal principles.

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Issues & Insights Vol. 19, WP 14 – The Gray Zone Issue: Implications for US-China Relations

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The issue of gray zone conflict between the US and China has attracted much attention in recent years. “Gray” indicates actions below the threshold of war, yet beyond normal diplomacy. The fundamental characteristics of gray zone activity include that they are well-planned, designed to be ambiguous amid strategic competition, and intended to leave opponents unable to launch an effective response. What demands special attention is that gray zone activity could cause unintended escalation, and that assertive responses to them may not be the best option. For instance, the United States’ gray zone retaliation to China’s activities in the South China Sea is hardly helpful to contain China’s activities, but certainly slow the pace of resolving the South China Sea dispute through negotiation and dialogue and jeopardize bilateral strategic stability.

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Issues & Insights Vol. 19, WP 13: Promoting the Well-Being of North Korea’s Residents and Refugees through US-ROK Cooperation

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Under extreme poverty and political repression, many North Koreans endure systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations, along with a protracted, entrenched humanitarian crisis. Many are malnourished and lack clean water, proper sanitation and basic health care. Young children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and the elderly have become the most vulnerable to such privations. These deplorable conditions are exacerbated by continued denial of human rights, including torture and other inhumane treatment, political imprisonment, public executions and suppression of speech, information, religion and movement. A former United Nations high commissioner for human rights described North Korea’s human rights situation as “incomparable . . .  anywhere in the world, past or present.” And Thomas Buergenthal, a former International Criminal Court judge and survivor of Auschwitz, described the conditions in North Korean prison camps as “terrible, or even worse, than Nazi camps.”

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Issues & Insights Vol. 19, WP12 – The Missing Link in Understanding South Korea’s Foreign Policy: Panmunjom Declaration and Beyond

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The Republic of Korea has chosen its alignment strategies and policy actions based on international dynamics and domestic constraints. South Korea’s domestic politics have had different effects on the recent administrations. Park Geun-hye had to accept the discontinuity of her foreign policy when she faced impeachment. Moon Jae-in, however, has pursued his dreams for inter-Korean relations despite systemic and domestic obstacles. In the spirit of neoclassical realism, this study identifies state-society relations and domestic institutions as key interventions in the calculus of foreign policy behavior amidst the critical influence of systemic variables. Whereas the Park administration disregarded the dynamics of domestic politics by putting state security above all else, the Moon administration has pursued a détente policy with a deep awareness of domestic politics. In a restrictive strategic environment, South Korea’s policy options are limited and the optimal choices are not necessarily the ideal ones. Foreign policy actions based on the dynamics of systemic structures and domestic politics have significant implications for Northeast Asia. State-society relations and domestic institutions have implications for the US-South Korea-Japan strategic triangle. Different strategic interests in the region place the triangle at risk in dealing with the North Korean security problem.

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