South Korea

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  • Commentary

    South Korea's Surprisingly Successful China Policy

    When South Korea's president, Yoon Suk-yeol, entered office last year, the odds rose that a frostier bilateral relationship with China might take hold. But for now, at least, Yoon and his government have successfully managed China, and perhaps offered a road map for how others can too.

    Nov 27, 2023

  • Report

    South Korea Needs Greater Nuclear Assurance

    With growing nuclear threats from North Korea and China, there has been considerable interest in South Korea in developing its own nuclear weapons. But doing so could become a major disaster. The United States should bring greater strategic clarity to its nuclear umbrella commitment to South Korea.

    Oct 29, 2023

Explore South Korea

  • View of what appears to be a strategic cruise missile drill carried out by North Korea at an undisclosed location in North Korea, January 30, 2024, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Dealing with North Korean Threats of War

    On January 10, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un abandoned decades of seeking peaceful Korean unification. He seems likely to escalate because of serious internal problems and because his Cold War approach of provocations has failed to achieve his external objectives. Has Kim really decided to go to war?

    Feb 12, 2024

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his daughter inspect an intercontinental ballistic missile in North Korea in this undated photo released on November 19, 2022 photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Responding to North Korean 2024 War Threats

    Unless Kim Jong-un concludes that South Korea and the United States are finally serious about reining in his provocations, threats, and nuclear weapon development, Kim might eventually establish a form of dominance on the Korean Peninsula or push the Korean Peninsula into a nuclear war that no one wants.

    Jan 18, 2024

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a policy speech at the second-day sitting of the 5th Session of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released on September 30, 2021, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Politics of North Korea's ICBM Program

    It appears that Kim Jong-un is now practicing ICBM politics. Successful ICBM launches generate internal political support and remind South Korean citizens of reasons to question the reliability of the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

    Jan 2, 2024

  • A simulated tactical nuclear attack drill at an undisclosed location in North Korea. Photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and obtained by Reuters on September 3, 2023, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Deterrence of North Korean Limited Nuclear Attacks

    No single action is likely to deter North Korean nuclear weapon use. But a combination of efforts may convince Kim Jong-un that any use of nuclear weapons for coercion would be very dangerous to his future, and could be a powerful approach to deterring North Korea.

    Nov 27, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    'Israel's 9/11,' Promoting the 988 Hotline, the Future of Space: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on why the Oct. 7 attack wasn't Israel's 9/11, humanity's future approach to space, the pressing need to ensure more people know about the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, and more.

    Nov 17, 2023

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held the Fifth Enlarged Plenary Meeting of the Eighth Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in Pyongyang, North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 11, 2022, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    What North Korea Is Learning from the Hamas-Israel War

    South Korea and the United States should rein in North Korean nuclear weapon production and prepare to respond to escalated North Korean coercion. While Kim Jong-un probably won't resort to a Hamas-style attack, he certainly shares Hamas' goal of cultivating U.S. reluctance to get involved militarily in the region.

    Oct 24, 2023

  • Jennifer Bouey smiles at the camera during a recording of the webinar: Can South Korea Help the World Beat the Next Pandemic? on October 13, 2022.

    Multimedia

    Can South Korea Help the World Beat the Next Pandemic?

    How can South Korea turn its COVID-19 control success into a successful soft-power asset for health diplomacy? The RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy hosted a webinar discussion to promote the sharing of innovative ideas and best practices.

    Sep 29, 2023

  • People walk in front of a monitor showing news of North Korea's fresh threat in Tokyo, Japan, August 10, 2017

    Commentary

    North Korea and China Aren't the Allies You Think They Are

    China and North Korea have a history of friction, despite being seen as allies. As Russia, China, and North Korea move toward a closer trilateral partnership, the United States and its allies need to recognize that there are seams in the relationships that can be used to undermine it.

    Sep 27, 2023

  • U.S. President Joe Biden holds a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) during the trilateral summit at Camp David near Thurmont, Maryland, August 18, 2023, photo by Jim Bourg/Reuters

    Commentary

    Separate U.S. Alliances in East Asia Are Obsolete

    Washington manages its alliances with Tokyo and Seoul separately. But growing South Korean and Japanese military capabilities make a conversation about more integration unavoidable.

    Sep 14, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    The State of Public Education, the Opioid Crisis, Defending Taiwan: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the state of public education in America right now, a missing piece of the strategy for addressing the opioid crisis, emerging technology that could help defend Taiwan, and more.

    Sep 1, 2023

  • Flags of Indo-Pacific allies surround the flag-draped shape of Taiwan

    Report

    How Would U.S. Allies View Changes in Washington's Relationship with Taiwan?

    The debate in Washington over Taiwan often overlooks a crucial question: How would America's regional allies respond to possible changes in U.S. policy toward the island? Researchers explored the perspectives of Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.

    Jul 20, 2023

  • South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol delivers a speech in Seoul, South Korea, June 6, 2023, photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Pool/Reuters

    Commentary

    China's Bullying Proves South Korea's Yoon Is on the Right Track

    An escalating war of words between Beijing and Seoul is raising pressure on South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol to take a softer line with China. Instead, the Yoon administration should see Beijing's threats of punishment as vindication for further strengthening and expanding Seoul's alliance with the United States.

    Jul 5, 2023

  • Close up of an extended family sitting on the couch together, looking away from the camera, photo by monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

    Journal Article

    Effect of Child Benefit Payments on Child Outcome Expenditures in South Korea

    Using longitudinal data, Korea's child benefit programs are shown to generate positive child outcome expenditures. The effects are higher for lower- and middle-income families, suggesting that policy should target income groups.

    May 25, 2023

  • A screen grab from an undated video shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspecting what are said to be nuclear warheads at an undisclosed location, photo by KRT via Reuters

    Commentary

    How Kim's Fears Shape North Korea's Nuclear Agenda

    North Korea has ramped up the frequency and intensity of its provocations, continuing its nuclear weapon–buildup while threatening attacks against South Korea and the United States. Why is Kim Jong-un making such excessive investments in North Korea's nuclear and weapons programs and showing off its capabilities?

    Apr 19, 2023

  • Photo by KCNA/Pool/Latin America News Agency via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    North Korea Is Forcing U.S. Military Counters

    If the U.S. military shoots down a North Korean ICBM fired in the direction of the United States and its territories, North Korea will regard it as an act of war. Even in the realm of North Korean rhetoric, this is extreme.

    Mar 14, 2023

  • The National Assembly of South Korea, Yeouido, Seoul, photo by Vincent_St_Thomas/Getty Images

    Commentary

    A Nuke for a Nuke? Public Debate and Political Party Views on Nuclear Acquisition in South Korea

    There is a high level of uncertainty and a lack of clarity surrounding the issue of South Korean nuclear acquisition. What political, security, and strategic factors are key to guiding this debate in Seoul?

    Mar 2, 2023

  • U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. in New York, New York, September 22, 2022, photo by Leah Millis/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Philippines Is America's New Star Ally in Asia

    The election of the Philippines' new president, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., in May 2022 has proven exceptionally significant for Washington's security alliances in the Indo-Pacific. Marcos has prioritized the maintenance of healthy ties to the United States, marking a sharp departure from the foreign policy of his predecessor.

    Feb 24, 2023

  • Missiles are displayed during a military parade marking the 75th anniversary of North Korea's army founding in Pyongyang, North Korea, February 8, 2023, photo by KCNA via Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Is North Korea Showing Off Its ICBMs?

    On February 8, North Korea held a military parade in Pyongyang to call attention to the strengths of the North's military weapons, including what appeared to be 11 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Can the United States and its allies afford to wait until North Korea has dozens of ICBMs and hundreds of nuclear weapons? Because that is the direction in which Kim says he is moving.

    Feb 15, 2023