The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is famously ill-named. All four words are false. It is no democracy; the people decide nothing. More hereditary monarchy than republic, its culture and institutions owe more to Stalin (who created it) and Mao than to anything Korean.
The prospects for the North Korean economy meeting Kim’s New Year’s demand that “…we should bring about an upturn in improving the people’s living standards”1 looked dim at the start of 2015. The self-imposed Ebola tourism ban lasted until April, cutting off a major foreign exchange earner.2 In
It has been a couple of very busy months for North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs. One nuclear test in January and a series of missile tests in February, March and April this year have made it impressively clear that Pyongyang was in the business of seeking to become as threatening as possible in the run-up to the Workers’ Party Convention on May 6.
Since the partition of the Korean peninsula, the crises between Seoul and Pyongyang have ranked high in the US political agenda. Nonetheless, the profile that the Obama administration has chosen to keep is relatively low. This choice has triggered criticisms, however the posture has brought its own benefits. Moreover, in a difficult economic situation, and in the face of increasing pressures for the curtailing of government expenditure, the ‘low profile’ approach meets the demands of a Congress whose support the White House increasingly needs. The main uncertainty is in the attitude of the PRC. However Beijing, more than any other nation, has a keen interest in keeping East Asia stable. This does not mean that China will become a sort of ‘US cop’ in East Asia. However, some forms of localized cooperation can be envisaged; a cooperation that could strengthen, as China will progress in occupying the international position that its leadership believes the country deserves.
This analysis evaluates the key factors involved in Japan's three territorial disputes with Russia, China and South Korea. First, the analysis provides a brief background for each dispute, examining their origins in Japan's pre-World War II Imperial expansion and the post-war settlement.
It is very difficult to draw any strategic consideration from the recent escalations in the Korean peninsula. No significant conclusion can be reached through merely analytical means.
North Korea is flexing its muscles, again. The UN imposing further sanctions onto North Korea in a (late) response to its December 2012 missile and February 2013 nuclear tests had the regime in Pyongyang go ballistic leading to angry rhetoric and threats to attack the US and its allies with ballistic and nuclear weapons.
The transition of power in North Korea after the death of Kim Jong-il portends both change and continuity. The heir to power, Kim Jong-un, no doubt relies on advice if not pressure from an inner circle of generals and other senior leaders. So far North Korean policy appears extremely tough, but perhaps that's an attempt to buttress his image amid concerns about his youth and inexperience.
Recent and ongoing shifts in Japan’s military security – both domestic and in relations with other countries – are once again stirring the debate about whether Japan’s security posture is set for radical change. Japan’s recent policies towards North Korea, Myanmar/Burma, Iran and Afghanistan as well as new security issues suggest, however, that change is continuative.