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Nautilus Institute's Policy Forum Online's focus is on the timely publication of expert analysis and op-ed style pieces on the foremost of security-related issues to Northeast Asia. Its mission is to facilitate a multilateral flow of information among an international network of policy-makers, analysts, scholars, media, and readers. Policy Forum essays are typically from a wide range of expertise, political orientations, as well as geographic regions and seeks to present readers with opinions and analysis by experts on the issues as well as alternative voices not typically presented or heard. Feedback, comments, responses from Policy Forum readers are highly encouraged.

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PFO 10-032:
U.S. Must Respond Firmly to North Korean Naval Attack

Bruce Klingner, Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation, writes, "It is likely that the Cheonan sinking is not a singular event but rather the beginning of a North Korean campaign to raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula. A greater willingness to engage in high-risk behavior could be the result either of North Korea’s growing confidence due to its nuclear weapons status or, conversely, its growing desperation resulting from the increasing impact of international sanctions on its economy."

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PFO 10-031:
To Calm Korean Waters

Leon V. Sigal, Director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research. Council, writes, "The only way to make the waters off Korea safer and stop further nuclear arming is to try negotiating in earnest - resuming six-party talks and starting a parallel peace process for Korea. North Korean acceptance of responsibility for sinking the Cheonan would be a suitable starting point."

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PFO 10-030:
Don’t Sink Diplomacy

Joel S. Wit, visiting scholar at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University and the founder of its Web site 38north.org, writes, "In the aftermath of the Cheonan sinking, the United States and South Korea must recognize that a return to dialogue would serve our interests. It is the only realistic way to rein in North Korea’s objectionable activities."

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PFO 10-029:
The Chinese Road to Pyongyang

John Delury, Associate Director of the Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations and director of the North Korea Inside Out Task Force, writes, "The final misconception is that Hu might have demanded an explanation from Kim as to the causes of the fatal sinking of a South Korean vessel in late March. Hu… may have discussed the issue with Kim, as well as the intense pressure Lee is under to respond, if not retaliate. But the Chinese do not assume that North Korea is guilty. Even in the face of strong evidence of North Korean wrongdoing, the Chinese are inclined to view the incident in the context of inter-Korean relations, and do not want to let it determine the fate of the Six Party Talks."

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PFO 10-028:
Nuclear Posture Review and Its Implications on the Korean Peninsula

Hyun-Wook Kim, Professor at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS) in South Korea, writes, "It is important for both the U.S. and South Korea to develop a concrete plan for extended deterrence... Tailored extended deterrence should be established separately for Korea and Japan, covering not only nuclear elements but also diverse military, economic, political and legal elements that would produce more comprehensive extended deterrence measures."

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PFO 10-027:
North Korea: Changing but Stable

Alexander Mansourov, Nautilus Institute Senior Associate, writes, "North Korea is changing. The latest demonstration of the government's desire to facilitate change is the new package of economic adjustment measures. Those measures seek to displace imports, restore self-reliance, and consolidate state control over the economic system at the expense of the newly emerging proto-markets in retail trade and the small private merchant class that may create political headaches for the regime down the road."

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PFO 10-026:
Requisites for North Korea's Denuclearization

Tong Kim, Research Professor at Korea University and Adjunct Professor at SAIS Johns Hopkins University, writes, "If paranoid North Korea is assured of its security for survival and non-interference in its internal affairs, it will be open to serious discussions on denuclearization. The task is how the U.S. and other partners can provide such assurances."

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PFO 10-025:
Rajin-Sonbong: A Strategic Choice for China in Its Relations with Pyongyang

Scott Snyder, Director of the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy at the Asia Foundation, writes, "How the PRC central government handles Rajin-Sonbong may provide additional needed leverage to drive a financially hurting regime back to the negotiating table, or it may provide the North Koreans with a lifeline that sustains the leadership and provides it with the capacity to avoid necessary reforms. Given that many Chinese private firms recognize the risks of investing in North Korea under the current regime, a central government decision to invest in the Rajin-Sonbong is likely to be aimed more at perpetuating the status quo than at achieving the regime transformation necessary to promote North Korea's economic integration into the region."

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PFO 10-024:
Russia and the North Korean Knot

Georgy Toloraya, Director of Korean Programs at the Institute of Economy, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, writes, "the talks should not concentrate exclusively on the nuclear issue. They should deal with comprehensive security problems, dating back several decades. Denuclearization is only one track of these talks, and actually it is even a secondary one. As the member of the talks with the least "egoistic" interests and responsibility to manage the issues of the mechanism of peace and security in North East Asia, Russia should put forward such an agenda."

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PFO 10-023:
Nuclear Posture Review and North Korea

Wooksik Cheong, representative of the Korea Peace Network, writes, "The Obama administration has offered 'carrots' along with 'sticks' when it comes to North Korea. It has implied that the US will offer 'negative security assurance' only if North Korea lets goes of its nuclear weapons and returns to the NPT. It is understood to be somewhat unfair for both sides under an armistice situation, when the only assurance of security is conditional on abandoning nuclear weapons first. From this point of view, it seems a strong probability that North Korea will expand its nuclear arsenal."

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PFO 10-021:
The Domestic and International Politics of Spent Nuclear Fuel in South Korea: Are We Approaching Meltdown?

Park Seong-won is a Visiting Fellow, Miles Pomper is a Senior Research Associate, and Larry Scheinman is a Distinguished Professor at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. The authors write, "nuclear power has brought important benefits to the ROK, but also one particularly negative consequence: an accumulation of spent nuclear fuel that will soon outstrip the country’s storage capacity for highly radioactive waste. With the current nuclear cooperation agreement between South Korea and the United States set to expire in 2014, and an increasingly urgent need to find a solution, Seoul and Washington will have to overcome previous tensions on the issue."

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PFO 10-020:
Why the Sunshine Policy Made Sense

James E. Hoare was Britain's Chargé d'Affaires to the DPRK from 2001-2002 and opened the British Embassy in Pyongyang. In this article on the Sunshine policy he writes, "Slowly, the policy was creating a group of people who could see benefits in remaining on good terms with South Korea and who had wider links with the outside world. Engagement has worked in other countries, most noticeably China, and I believe that it was beginning to work in North Korea. There was never going to be a speedy change in attitudes built up over sixty years, but stopping the process after ten was not a wise decision."

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PFO 10-019:
The Stability of North Korea and a Long-term Strategy for Transformation

Rudiger Frank, Professor of East Asian Economy and Society at the University of Vienna, writes, "The government in Seoul is yet in a position to develop strategies for the future. A law on property rights in North Korea, on tax breaks, other investment incentives, the fate of the elite and welfare benefits for the weak is overdue. There still is time for a discussion and for finding the best option, but the clock is ticking. Once events start to follow in quick succession, politicians and chess players alike either act according to their prepared strategy, or they simply react. At least in chess, the latter often leads to defeat."

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PFO 10-017:
Northeast Asia – A Major Global Challenge for the New Decade

James Goodby, nonresident Senior Fellow at the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution and former US Ambassador to Finland, and Markku Heiskanen, Senior Expert Associate at NIAS-Nordic Institute of Asian Studies in Copenhagen, write, "Energy cooperation between China, Japan, North and South Korea and Russia could be a first step towards building broad international and institutionalized cooperation between these countries. The United States and the European Union should be fully participating members of an energy community in Northeast Asia."

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PFO 10-015:
North Korea: It's the Economy, Stupid

Aidan Foster-Carter, Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology   Modern Korea at Leeds University, writes, "This is an astonishing episode, which history may record as pivotal. If the leadership learns its lesson and finally accepts that the market economy is as ineluctable as gravity, then the DPRK might conceivably survive on a reconstituted economic base and social contract, like today's China or Vietnam. But if Kim Jong-il (or whoever) keeps trying to square the circle, under the delusion that correct politics is a substitute for sound economics, there is no hope."

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PFO 10-014:
Activating a North Korea Policy

John W. Lewis, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, and Robert Carlin, Visiting Scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, write, "Over the past several months, the North has signaled publicly and privately that it is in engagement mode. In Washington, arguments abound about whether or not this is a stall tactic or a trick, but we'll never know if we don't move ahead with serious and sustained probing of the North's position. So long as our government sticks to an all-or-nothing approach in terms of Pyongyang, the opportunity to advance vital U.S. security interests in northeast Asia could be lost."

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PFO 10-013:
We Need Both Hatoyama's Decision and Obama's Patience

Tsuneo "Nabe" Watanabe, Senior Fellow at the Tokyo Foundation, writes, "if mutual trust were created between the leaders of both sides, it would not be impossible to find solutions to overcome future troubles as well as the current impasse without damaging the alliance itself... The complex and difficult management of bases in Okinawa should not be a litmus test for support of the general Japan-US alliance."

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PFO 10-012:
Peace Talks, Sanctions and Nuclear Negotiations: What the North is Really Saying

U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) issued this analysis of the DPRK's recent statements which notes, "By focusing on the dynamic as a cause of the problem rather than blaming the U.S. (or the ROK or Japan) as the culprit, Pyongyang has given itself room to consider a fairly broad range of options for moving the negotiating process ahead. Similarly noteworthy was the statement's unusually balanced portrayal of the accomplishments of the Six Party Talks, citing examples of ways in which both sides gained. That allows the North to move forward in talks while maintaining its position that the way ahead rests on give or take or, more precisely, the principle of 'action for action.'"

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PFO 10-011:
US Maritime Security Priorities in East

Mark Valencia, Nautilus Institute Senior Associate, writes, "It seems inevitable that warships, submarines and military aircraft of the two will increasingly confront each other in and over the South and East China Seas. Needed urgently is at least an Incidents at Sea Agreement if not an informal set of agreed guidelines regarding the operations of US military vessels and aircraft in China's claimed waters. Otherwise, the seas of East Asia may become increasingly dangerous for all concerned -both politically and otherwise."

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PFO 10-010:
Transformative Technology for a Sustainable Future

Every so often in history a technological innovation emerges that has a transformative effect on human civilization. As the world ponders how to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change, Nautilus Institute Director Peter Hayes looks at some of the possible technological breakthroughs that could pave the way to a sustainable future.

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PFO 10-006:
Lessons Learned From the North Korean Nuclear Crises

Siegfried S. Hecker, Co-Director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, writes "Not only have we not been able to negotiate effectively, but also we have allowed Pyongyang to cross with impunity every red line we have drawn. The U.S. negotiating position has also been hampered by our inability to sustain consistent policies through transitions in administrations. Pyongyang has taken advantage of our political divisions to play a weak hand with success. Unless we learn from the lessons of North Korea, others may be able to do the same."

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PFO 10-002:
Hard Currency and Socialism: The Ban on Foreign Exchange in North Korea

Rudiger Frank, Professor of East Asian Economy and Society, University of Vienna, writes, "The ban on the use of foreign currencies in North Korea is not only a return to pre-reform orthodoxy, but also to normality as it exists in most countries of the world. It marks one step in the multi-staged strategy of the North Korean state to regain control over its society and economy... In any case, a system of multiple exchange rates will help the North Korean state to follow the developmental path of its neighbors in the hope of becoming part of the East Asian miracle – or, as North Korean media put it, to open the gate to a new era."

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The Nautilus Policy Forum Online is intended to provide expert analysis of contemporary issues in Northeast Asia, and an opportunity to participate in discussion of the analysis. As always, Nautilus invites your responses to this report.

Copyright (c) 2001 Nautilus of America/The Nautilus Institute