Policy Forum

Nautilus Institute’s Policy Forum‘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.

NAPSNet, Policy Forum

Policy Forum 11-40: The 2012 Nuclear Security Summit: Opportunities and Challenges

Duyeon Kim, Deputy Director of Non-Proliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, writes, “There are clear ways in which Seoul can capitalize on its strengths to flavor the 2012 [Nuclear Security Summit] with a “Korean twist” as it maintains depth on key substantive issues that ensure the security of nuclear materials, parts, and facilities…The challenge lies in clearly demonstrating that the benefits outweigh the costs, and that states would have a national interest in further investing their political capital in nuclear security.”

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Policy Forum 11-39: Not Bad Options for the Six Party Talks

Roger Cavazos, a Nautilus Institute Associate, provides a brief overview North Korean diplomatic activities during the past few months. He concludes that the DPRK’s recent moves to establish international rail and educational links and sudden changes in the positions of some key Six Party Talk leaders holds promise of changes in the DPRK. “The DPRK seems substantively different and might be ready to take some steps on its own. The DPRK will continue to have a high degree of centralized control, but there are strong, likely irreversible trends to decentralize some of that power. If no one reaches back towards those who are reaching out (e.g [the DPRK] in education) or those who are taking a risk by welcoming in limited outside forces (e.g. [the DPRK] re-establishing train lines) we will likely lose many opportunities for a long time.”

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Policy Forum 11-38: North Korea’s Digital Transformation: Implications for North Korea Policy

Peter Hayes, Professor, RMIT University and Nautilus Institute Executive Director, Scott Bruce, Nautilus Institute Director, and Dyana Mardon, Nautilus Institute Program Officer, review the implications of the introduction and deepening of information technology in North Korea in light of the unique social structure and state controls over information flow and individual behavior found in the DPRK.

This essay reviews the implications of the introduction and deepening of information technology in North Korea in light of the unique social structure and state controls over information flow and individual behavior found in the DPRK.  It expands upon and extrapolates from the NAPSNet Special Report “North Korea on the Cusp of Digital Transformation” by Alexander Mansourov published November 1, 2011.

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Policy Forum 11-37: Kim Jong Il’s Nuclear Diplomacy and the US Opening: Slow Motion Six-Party Engagement

In this essay Jeffrey Lewis, Director of East Asia Nonproliferation Program of the James Martin Center for NonProliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute, Peter Hayes, Professor of Global Studies, RMIT University and Executive Director of Nautilus Institute and Scott Bruce, Director of the Nautilus Institute, San Francisco examine the lead-up to negotiations between the United States and the DPRK on the nuclear issue that resume in Geneva on October 26, 2011.  It notes the high priority placed on domestic economic issues, the escalating threat of a missile or nuclear test in North Korean statements, but then points to the underlying and fundamental issues of the threat of nuclear attack and the need for removal of such threat as the basis for eventual resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue.  It concludes by prefiguring the issues that re-engagement of the DPRK would require be addressed in order to actually resolve the nuclear issue.

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Policy Forum 11-36: Ousting Kan Naoto: The Politics of Nuclear Crisis and Renewable Energy in Japan

Jeff Kingston, Director of Asian Studies, Temple University (Japan Campus), examines why, in the midst of an unprecedented cascade of natural and nuclear disasters in Japan, the problem of Kan Naoto’s ouster trumped all others in the national media and politics. Kingston claims that, following the meltdowns at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant, the Japanese media helped  to protect the vested interests of the powerful ‘nuclear village’ by dwelling on Kan’s lack of leadership qualities and ignoring the institutional reasons why it is difficult for Japanese leaders to lead. “The ousting of Kan is an object lesson in crossing the powerful players who control Japan’s energy policy…While the village is in trouble, it retains enormous power to influence public discourse and politics”.

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Policy Forum 11-35: Outside Aid Has Failed. Only an ‘Intrusive Aid’ Approach Will Work?

Nicholas Eberstadt, Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy, American Enterprise Institute, and Senior Adviser, National Bureau of Asian Research, argues against providing humanitarian aid to the DPRK without strict international oversight. Instead Eberstadt proposes what he terms ‘intrusive aid’, which would require North Korea to comply with independent data collection and distribution of food aid. He writes, “The program of intrusive aid would be indivisible and non-negotiable…If Pyongyang agreed, the aid program would go forward. Otherwise the mission is scrapped — because Pyongyang refused to accept the conditions under which genuine humanitarian aid might have worked.”

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Policy Forum 11-34: Forget the Politics, It’s Wrong to Ignore the Human Suffering

Young-yoon Kim, Senior Research Fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification, analyzes whether or not South Korea should provide humanitarian aid to the DPRK, given the nature of the North Korean regime and problems with transparency. Kim concludes that the ROK should extend aid, arguing that “the South Korean government nor the international community can afford to ignore this serious humanitarian crisis, not only for the sake of good neighborliness and brotherhood, but also for the sake of international obligations and prestige.”

Read a response to this article here.

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Policy Forum 11-33: The Sixth Anniversary of the September 19 Joint Statement: We Cannot Delay the Resumption of the Six-Party Talks Anymore

Korea Peace Forum, a non-governmental forum that seeks to build peace in the Korean Peninsula, writes “it is now time to gather our power and wisdom to develop the six-party talks into an opportunity for co-prosperity and peace, not only on the Korean Peninsula, but also in Northeast Asia. We should not forget that this is one of the most important historical issues to be solved by the new South Korean government in 2013.”

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Policy Forum 11-32: Creating a Solar Belt in East Japan: The Energy Future

Son Masayoshi, Softbank Chairman and CEO, writes “It is known that land salinized by the tsunami cannot be cultivated for the next decade. How much money would it take to “recover” such farmland and create taller embankments? What future do we see there? Can the government instead take the lead in creating an “East Japan Solar Belt” as an area for producing new energy for the future? Ports of the past could gain new life as ports of solar and wind energy.”

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Policy Forum 11-31: Korea Talks Must Quickly Move From Tactics to Strategy

Stephen Costello, an independent analyst and consultant, asserts that progress toward North Korean denuclearization will require far more work from the US. He writes, “If Washington is content to wait 18 months for a change of parties in Seoul before considering a return to broader, bolder engagement [with North Korea], then US policy rests on a fragile footing. Failure to lead now on these important issues will ensure no progress is made in the near term, and that bolder action will be more difficult in the future.”

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