ASPI Tracks Heightened Tensions in the Korean Peninsula
Since taking office, President Donald Trump's most pressing international security challenge has been the acceleration of the North Korean nuclear program. In April 2017 alone, North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un showcased the advances in its missile technology during an ostentatious military parade and conducted two missile tests on April 16 and April 28. Though both missile tests failed, they raised concerns in the United States and across the Asia-Pacific region about North Korea's growing capabilities and aggression.
The Trump Administration has responded with tough talk of its own, with Vice President Mike Pence declaring during a visit to South Korea that "the era of strategic patience" toward North Korea is over. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has indicated that all options are on the table, emphasizing more than past U.S. administrations that, if necessary, the United States would consider taking military action to stop the North's nuclear program. This has alarmed countries in the region, especially South Korea and Japan, about an impending crisis on the Korean Peninsula.
South Korean elections on May 9 have added additional complexity to the picture. New leader President Moon Jae-in has called for diplomatic talks with the North at a time when the United States and others want to step up pressure on Kim Jong-un. This could make it difficult for the international community to reach consensus on how to deal with North Korea.
On July 4, North Korea successfully carried out an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test for the first time, putting parts of the United States potentially within its nuclear range. The missile test took place just before the G20 meeting in Germany, with the United States and China still at loggerheads about how to deal with the North Korean nuclear challenge.
As these developments occurred in real time, Asia Society Policy Institute staff, including President Kevin Rudd, Diplomat in Residence and Senior Fellow Daniel Russel, and Director of Asian Security Lindsey Ford provided analysis on the real dangers of the North Korean nuclear program, the policy options available to President Trump and China, and what the implications of a full-blown crisis on the Korean Peninsula would be for the United States and the region. See their contributions below.
(The below compilation was updated on August 14, 2017.)
On CNBC's "Squawk Box" on September 6, Kevin Rudd provides insight into North Korea's goals, U.S. options on North Korea, and China's role in a "grand bargain."
In an interview with MSNBC on September 6, Lindsey Ford says that Kim Jong Un isn’t “begging for war” but trying to deter an attack by the United States.
In an op-ed for The Sydney Morning Herald on September 6, Kevin Rudd writes that a second Korean War has now become an increasing possibility.
Lindsey Ford tells MSNBC’s Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle on September 5, that in spite of its highly provocative recent nuclear and missile tests, North Korea is not “begging for war.”
Daniel Russel speaks to BBC Radio 4 on September 4, about how the UN Security Council will respond after North Korea's latest nuclear test.
In this August 31 op-ed for The Hill, Wendy Cutler outlines how to get the U.S.-South Korea trade relationship back on track in the midst of threatening missile tests by North Korea.
On August 31, Kevin Rudd delivers a speech on the North Korea nuclear crisis to the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, providing an overview of North Korean, Chinese, and American interests and perceptions, as well as the possible scenarios going forward.
On August 12, Kevin Rudd talks to Fareed Zakaria about whether Trump's "strategic unpredictability" will be effective against North Korea.
In an August 11, 2017 CNBC interview, Kevin Rudd outlines what a diplomatic "grand bargain" on North Korea could look like.
As the rhetoric between the Trump administration and North Korea escalates, Daniel Russel told NPR's "Weekend Update" that many of the important diplomatic positions that deal with East Asia lie empty at the State Department.
In this August 11, 2017 AsiaBlog post, ASPI staff and experts discuss why negotiating with China may be the only viable option for the United States when it comes to North Korea.
In an op-ed for the Financial Times on August 10, 2017, ASPI President Kevin Rudd writes that that the international community might be sleepwalking into war on the Korean Peninsula.
On August 7, Daniel Russel tells BBC Radio 4 that new UN sanctions against North Korea were a "significant advance" that will slow the progress of the North Korean nuclear program.
On CNN on August 1, 2017, Kevin Rudd predicts that the United States is likely to implement secondary sanctions against Chinese firms over North Korea and that the move would likely strain bilateral ties further.
In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Network’s ”7.30” program on July 6, 2017, Kevin Rudd describes how the U.S. approach to North Korea has changed in the aftermath of its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile test. (6 mins. 54 secs.)
On July 6, 2017, ASPI's Daniel Russel tells BBC Radio that the United States must work with other key nations at the G20 summit to manage North Korea's nuclear provocations. (4 min., 46 sec.)
Kevin Rudd discusses how North Korea's escalating threats have changed the region's dynamics on "Bloomberg Markets" on July 5, 2017. (2 min., 37 sec.)
On July 5, 2017, Kevin Rudd describes growing tensions between the U.S. and China after North Korea's successful ICBM test on Fox News Radio. (7 min., 3 sec.)
Soon after North Korea's first successful ICBM test on July 4, 2017, Lindsey Ford explains on MSNBC why North Korea's pursuit of an ICBM is a core security challenge for the United States. (5 min., 1 sec.)
At an event at Asia Society New York on June 19, Daniel Russel, Ro-Myung Gong, Chung-in Moon, Sue Mi Terry, and Barbara Demick discuss what the future holds for the U.S.-Korea alliance, the Korean Peninsula, and the security of Northeast Asia. ( 1 hr., 25 min.)
On May 14, 2017, Kevin Rudd speaks to Fox News about North Korea's latest ballistic missile test, how to pressure Kim Jong-un, and whether a missile defense system in the Western United States was a solution to the problem. (4 min., 53 sec.)
Kevin Rudd tells CNBC's Squawk Box on May 4 that Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will find a way to work together on challenges like North Korea. (4 min., 39 sec.)
On MSNBC on May 4, Kevin Rudd discusses the long-standing U.S.-Australia alliance and the common challenge both countries face from North Korea. (4 min., 2 sec.)
After another failed North Korean missile test and with elections imminent in South Korea, Kevin Rudd discusses Donald Trump's North Korea strategy with the BBC on May 1. (4 min., 34 sec.)
Kevin Rudd on Trump's North Korea Strategy - BBC News
Kevin Rudd discussed Donald Trump's strategy on North Korea with BBC News over the weekend.Posted by Asia Society Policy Institute on Monday, May 1, 2017
On CNBC's "Squawk Box" on May 1, Kevin Rudd warns politicians against engaging in any "incidents" in North Korea that could have harsh consequences. (2 min., 41. sec.)
On the BBC's Briefing Room podcast on April 27, Daniel Russel argues that it would be a mistake to think that war with North Korea is inevitable or that a diplomatic solution isn't possible. (28 min, 9 sec.)
On April 23, Kevin Rudd explains to CNN Today that the international community must use Chinese leverage to change North Korea's nuclear behavior. (7 min, 46 sec.)
Lindsey Ford lays out Donald Trump's North Korea strategy and options for MSNBC's Ali Velshi. (7 min., 8 sec.)
In an explainer interview on Asia Blog, Lindsey Ford discusses how the U.S. and China might resolve the current crisis in North Korea.
In a CNN interview on April 15, Kevin Rudd addresses North Korea’s military parade and what it means for U.S.-North Korea tensions. (7 min., 28 sec.)
On Fox's "America's News HQ" on April 15, Kevin Rudd argues that the United States should ignore North Korea's bluster and focus on working with China for a solution in the Korean peninsula. (8 min., 11 sec.)
On WNYC's "The Takeaway" on April 13, Lindsey Ford discusses North Korea's determination to obtain a nuclear weapon and the challenges Japan, South Korea, and the United States face in constraining it. (7 min.)
ASPI report on how to strengthen regional institutions in the Asia-Pacific to manage peace and security in increasingly turbulent times.
In this ASPI paper, Marshall Bouton argues that the Trump administration should move rapidly to secure closer cooperation with India.
In the wake of the recent U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this ASPI report makes recommendations to bolster regional economic integration in the Asia-Pacific.
On December 13, 2016 ASPI released a briefing book with recommendations from Asia-Pacific experts for the next U.S. administration.
This ASPI report by Jackson Ewing outlines potential for climate change cooperation between China, Japan, and South Korea through market mechanisms.