OPINION -- Two senior U.S. military commanders in the Indo-Pacific area this week questioned whether North Korea would ever denuclearize, just 12 days before the next scheduled summit in Hanoi between President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un. While Trump has repeatedly said that "things are going very well ...

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is touting his recent trip to Pyongyang as a success, saying that he was able to make ‘real progress’ toward denuclearization, and that a second summit between North Korean President Kim Jung Un and President Donald Trump, will be announced soon. Cipher Brief Expert and ...

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with North Korea's foreign minister on Wednesday and says he will visit Pyongyang next month to pave the way for a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong Un. The announcement follows a bilateral agreement signed by President ...

As they strolled on the beach at Dalian earlier this week, Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un had a lot to discuss. China’s idea of the perfect Korean settlement is simple: North Korea should denuclearise completely in return for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from the peninsula. In one stroke, ...

There’s a dark purpose in Kim Jong Un’s proffered moratorium on nuclear and ballistic missile testing announced over the weekend. Kim, with the apparent complicity of South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, seeks to eventually merge his state into the South  – and drive out U.S. troops from the peninsula. Most ...

"What South Koreans want is an unconditional withdrawal of U.S. troops from the South, an unwelcome guest that poses a threat to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.” -14 March 2018, Rodong Sinmun, North Korea Newspaper After decades of effort, North Korea is close to being able to credibly ...

The key to understanding the remarkable developments over North Korea in recent weeks is that the two Koreas have been working jointly to manage the perceived risks from the United States and China. This cooperation has been managed on intelligence channels often employing relationships forged during the Sunshine Policy over ...

North Korea’s weekend offer of peace talks over dinner with the first South Korean delegation there in more than a decade seems to be a sincere attempt to open dialogue. It follows other moves like sending his sister Kim Yo-jong to the Olympics and issuing a summit invitation to South ...

Bottom Line: While the Trump administration has recently pressured South Korea on trade practices, the two nations remain united on pushing North Korea toward denuclearization, despite Pyongyang’s attempts to drive a wedge between the two. It is unlikely that their financial disagreements will disrupt that united front, but the money ...

North Korea’s Olympic delegation has left Pyeongchang, and stuck South Korean President Moon Jae-in with a decision: whether to accept an invitation to Pyongyang for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. It would be the first time a South Korean president has visited the North Korean capital city since ...

The signs emerging from Washington confirm that the military option is still very much on the table. There is now a breathing space while the Winter Olympics play out at Pyeongchang in South Korea followed by the Paralympics which conclude on 18th March. Shortly thereafter, the annual joint military exercises ...

Bottom Line: North and South Korean Olympians may be marching together come February after Tuesday’s breakthrough talks – the first between the two sides in two years – but North Korea’s staunch refusal to discuss its nuclear weapons program means a likely return to nuclear impasse after the Olympic games ...

North and Sound Korea have held their first high-level meeting in two years – agreeing to send North Korean athletes to the upcoming Olympics in the South Korean resort of Pyeonchang -- and to reopen a military hotline. It’s a welcome warming to the nuclear chill on the Korean Peninsula, ...

The North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un conducted its sixth underground nuclear test early this September – which Pyongyang claims as its first test of a hydrogen bomb – and in late August and again, two weeks later, the hermit kingdom launched a ballistic missile directly over the territory of ...

On October 10, as North Korea celebrates the creation of the ruling Worker's Party, the United States and regional allies will brace themselves for the possibility of yet another provocative missile test. With multiple missile launches this year, and even the test of a hydrogen nuclear bomb, Pyongyang is pushing ...

North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon underground early Sunday morning, demonstrating both its destructive power as well as its defiance of the international community. In this, North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, the blast’s power reportedly exceeded – by up to seven times - that of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima ...

Political and military leaders on all sides have assured the public that they are prepared for a potential war with North Korea, but how prepared is the public? For decades, the likelihood of war seemed remote, but that was before North Korea developed nuclear weapons, and power in Pyongyang and ...

The U.S.-South Korea joint Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises begin Monday, after days of bellicose rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – and followed by Defense Secretary James Mattis announcing there will be “strong military consequences” if North Korea “initiates hostilities.” Mattis and Secretary ...

The U.S. and South Korea will hold joint military exercises beginning on Monday, as tensions on the Korean peninsula are on the rise. U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un engaged in a war of words over the past few weeks, with Trump saying he would release ...

Within the next week, North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump will face situations that will require them to take steps that could increase already heightened tensions, or force one or both to back down from recent threatening statements. On August 21, some 40,000 American and South ...

The nightmarish threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program appears more real than ever, but the devil is in the details. This summer’s most recent round of tension came after the successful test by North Korea of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) potentially capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, and ...

South Korea has extended an offer for military and humanitarian talks with North Korea. South Korean President Moon Jae-in ran on a platform of engagement with the North and proposed talks with Pyongyang several times as a candidate and as president. The talks would be the first high-level dialogue between ...

The U.S.-South Korea alliance has supported the peace and prosperity of both nations for more than 60 years, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in revealed one more reason to be thankful for the partnership in his first state visit to the United States and first meeting with President Donald Trump ...

The Trump Administration has made the North Korean nuclear and missile threats a national security priority and has called on its regional allies to bring additional pressure on North Korea to bring it back to negotiations. At the recent summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon ...

At the first meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and new South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the two leaders discussed disagreements over trade, the THAAD missile defense system, and splitting the cost of basing U.S. troops in South Korea. Moon also made the case for a phased approach to bringing ...

Every recent U.S. administration (Clinton, Bush, and Obama) has confronted the problem of North Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear weapons program. While claiming their predecessors failed, successive administrations have shared the same objective: completely roll back the DPRK’s development of a deliverable nuclear weapons capability and prevent proliferation of a nuclear weapon ...

On May 9, Moon Jae-in was elected as the new President of South Korea after six months of political turmoil and a power vacuum caused by Park Geun-hye’s impeachment scandal. This is a return of nationalistic and progressive leadership after the past two conservative administrations, and Moon’s landslide victory indicates ...

South Korea and Japan are attempting to maintain business as usual in their alliances with the U.S., but the Trump Administration has not made this easy. A gap between President Donald Trump’s unpredictable comments and the more measured statements of his top Cabinet members has made building relations difficult. As ...

The situation between the US and North Korea remains tenuous and characterized by uncertainty. North Korea’s cancellation of the upcoming summit with South Korea over the recent US/South Korean joint military exercises underscores the fragile nature of the proposed talks between the two countries. While the United States Department of ...

There could not be a riper time than the present for North Korean provocations. Over the past six months, leadership changes took place in both the U.S. and South Korea, the DPRK’s two greatest adversaries. In Washington, the advent of the Trump Administration in January signaled to the Kim Jong-un ...

From day one, South Korea’s new President, Moon Jae-in, has shown he will be a different type of leader. He confirmed a campaign promise that he would consider visiting Pyongyang before Washington to tackle the North Korean nuclear issue, albeit only if the conditions were right. He has said he ...

In his first days in office, newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in has tried to reassure the governments of the United States, Japan, and China that he will work to reduce tensions with North Korea, however his preference for engagement over sanctions has some experts wondering if his North ...

After months of uncertainty following the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, South Korea has a new president. Moon Jae-in, a human rights lawyer and former chief of staff in the Roh Moo-hyun administration, has promised to pursue economic and political reform and restore prosperity and trust in government. Moon faces ...

Liberal candidate Moon Jae-in won South Korea’s presidential election on Tuesday. Moon’s decisive win, with approximately 40 percent of the vote and a 14 percent lead over the next closest candidate, signifies the South Korean electorate’s desire for change after 10 years of conservative rule and a political corruption controversy ...

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at age 33, is continuing his father’s and grandfather’s pattern of wild threats and bluster to cloak development of nuclear warheads and missile delivery systems that has caused problems for American presidents since Dwight Eisenhower. President Trump, aged 70 and a novice at dealing with ...

Lockheed Martin is in the midst of a lucrative deal to move production of America’s venerable F-16 fighter jet to India. While there are no more U.S. military contracts for the aging fighter, it is still very popular abroad, and the deal aims to benefit India’s domestic defense industry and ...

After decades of government support and investment, the South Korean defense industry can now produce advanced tanks, ships, and submarines and is poised to become a major arms exporter. South Korea intends to build on this progress in order to develop its own fifth generation fighter. The Cipher Brief spoke ...

North Korea’s missile test on Sunday reaffirmed the case for greater missile defense in South Korea, but it did nothing to change China’s perspective on the matter. Beijing believes that any U.S. missile defense in South Korea would undermine its strategic nuclear deterrent, and therefore its national security. The U.S. ...

From South Korea’s point of view, the year of 2016 will be remembered as one of the most challenging years since the armistice of the Korean War was signed in 1953. North Korea conducted its fourth and fifth nuclear tests on January 6 and September 9 respectively, and it continued ...

South Korea’s National Assembly voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye Dec. 9.  Since then, Park has been suspended from power and the nation is waiting on a Constitutional Court ruling finalizing the impeachment process, to reinstate or permanently remove Park from office.  Among other things, perhaps what troubles South Koreans ...

The South Korean court’s unanimous decision to remove President Park Geun Hye from office will prompt a new election within 60 days. With the ruling conservative party fractured by the scandal, liberal candidate Moon Jae-in is the current front runner. A win by the liberal party, which supports constructive dialogue ...

Historically, South Korea’s geographical position among larger and—in the case of its neighbor to the north—adversarial countries has placed it in a precarious foreign policy situation. This has been compounded by the recent impeachment of President Park Geun Hye at a time when North Korea has advanced its nuclear and ...

Within a week North Korea has gone beyond its New Year’s Day promise that it was close to testing an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile), claiming it can launch one “anytime and anywhere.” This is unwelcome news for South Korea, which finds itself in a period of internal political turmoil. The ...

The December 9th impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye has created a vacuum of political leadership in South Korea. Normally, the South Korean president would lead a full court press to confirm President-elect Donald Trump’s commitment to the U.S.-ROK security alliance and coordinate a consistent approach to the growing ...

Political turmoil in South Korea, following its president’s impeachment, could be exacerbated if North Korea tries to take advantage of a vacuum. That’s according to Jonathan Pollack, Interim SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies at the Brookings Institution. “Pyongyang is highly practiced at injecting instability at times it deems appropriate, ...

North Korea is once again taking provocative actions, this time launching two ballistic missiles in which one landed for the first time in Japanese controlled waters.    Last month, North Korea fired three short-range missiles into the sea.    The latest series of tests, which violate UN resolutions, come on the heels ...

Last week, South Korea, Japan and the U.S. announced they will hold their first-ever joint anti-missile exercise next month, signaling an effort by Korea and Japan to overcome decades of historical tension and work together. The joint exercise, set for June 28, will focus on information exchange and logistics as ...

What’s in a nickname? A term of endearment? A backhanded compliment laden with criticism of one’s flaws? In South Korea, a politician’s nickname – given affectionately and sometimes not so lightly by the public – conveys his or her most salient attributes and character. It’s also reflective of the constituents’ ...

Throughout its history, accommodating and at times contesting the push and pull of its much more powerful neighbors have defined Korea’s weltanschauung and attendant policies. This is hardly surprising given that the Korean Peninsula is the only place in the world where the strategic interests of the world’s most powerful ...

Among Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s array of foreign policy positions is the suggestion that South Korea and Japan develop nuclear weapons for their own security so the U.S. would not have to take responsibility for their protection. While national security experts responded that Trump’s view was nearsighted and would be ...