What might Trump mean for the Korean Peninsula?

Post by Rebecca Story, Research Intern at ICSA

Whilst President-elect Donald Trump’s plans for East Asia are still largely unknown, his lack of foreign-policy experience and  intentions to renegotiate trade and defence deals have led some to suggest that his presidency may contribute to destabilisation across the region, and particularly on the Korean Peninsula. Negative consequences for the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) economy, uncertainty over defence and heightened tensions with regards to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are all possible features of the ROK’s post-Trump future.

During his election campaign, Trump asserted that he would decrease US defence spending in the ROK and demand a greater ROK contribution to the shared costs of defence against the DPRK threat. With the cost-sharing agreement between the ROK and the US up for renegotiation in 2017, these remarks raise concerns that a Trump presidency will lead to a weakening of the alliance between the two countries and exacerbate instability on the Korean Peninsula. Continue reading

The Great Game, still: Russia matters to the US, and its presence in Pyongyang reminds Washington just how much

Post by Matthew Conway, Research Intern

Russia and North Korea made headlines earlier this year when they declared 2015 a ‘year of friendship’. With Western sanctions over the Ukraine conflict biting in Moscow, Russia is increasingly isolated from Europe and the OECD. Hermetic North Korea for its part is increasingly eschewed by China, hitherto its only ally. Given their isolation, both are seeking to diversify their international relationships for political and economic reasons.

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